Farm Report: Hawks headed to the Northwest League championship

Scott McDaniel /

The Boise Hawks—the Short-Season Northwest League’s youngest team—outlasted the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks) last night to secure a 2-1 series victory in a tightly battled division championship. They’ll get right back to their title run tonight, when they visit the Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays) for the first of a three-game series.

The Hawks put all three of their runs on the board in the third inning, partly in thanks to some poor pitching and defense by the Bears. The Hawks drew three walks, scored a run on a wild pitch, and then added two more when Dan Vogelbach’s fly ball was lost in the lights by the left fielder.

That was all the scoring they’d need, though Yakima did make things interesting with two runs off Boise reliever Brian Smith in the eighth. The Hawks put the Bears down in order in the ninth to seal the victory.

Top Performances: Starting pitcher Felix Peña was outstanding last night, throwing seven shutout innings—the longest appearance by any Hawks hurler this season. He allowed just five hits, walked none and struck out two. We mentioned yesterday that he can be an effective ground-ball pitcher when he locates his fastball and curveball down in the zone, and yesterday he induced 15 grounders out of 20 balls put in play.

Second baseman Gioskar Amaya made the defensive play of the season, according to Hawks broadcaster Mike Safford. With the tying run on third in the bottom of the eighth, Amaya made a diving play behind second base and spun to throw out Jacob House at first. Amaya did make his second error of the series earlier in that same inning. At the plate, the 19-year-old Venezuelan went 1-for-2 with two walks, a stolen base and a run.

Right-hander Eduardo Orozco, a pitcher out of UC-Irvine and the Cubs’ 22nd-round pick of the June draft, picked up the save with two strikeouts in 1.2 perfect innings.

Tonight’s Starting Pitchers: Right-hander Ian Dickson takes the hill for the Hawks. He tailed off as the season progressed, posting a 7.36 ERA in six August/September starts after a 4.38 mark in nine June/July starts. Dickson was the Cubs’ 35th-round pick in the 2011 draft and had missed his last collegiate season due to a torn ACL.

In contrast to some of the other starters we’ve seen this postseason, Dickson will give up fly balls and has been prone to the home run at times. He throws four-seam and two-seam fastballs, a cutter, a change-up and a slider. He’s shown some swing-and-miss stuff with the change-up and is working on developing his slider.

Vancouver is throwing their ace today, 21-year-old right-hander Javier Avendano. This is his first year in the Blue Jays organization after being signed by the Cardinals out of Venezuela in 2007. He’s 8-1 with a 1.27 ERA in 78 innings for Vancouver. He has 91 strikeouts to 25 walks and 53 hits over that span, and earlier in the season, he also had a 1.48 ERA as a reliever for the Blue Jays’ low Class-A affiliate. He turns 22 years old tonight.

Listen Live: Vancouver has a live listen link, which you can find by visiting Game starts at 9:05 Central Time.

—Sean Ahmed

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