Strange things happened Friday when Patrick Hallmark hit the ball.
Hallmark, the hero of Thursday’s win over Bellingham with a ninth-inning, two-out RBI single, couldn’t come up with any hits 24 hours later. Yet the two times he connected with the ball resulted in three Spokane runs and half of what the Indians would get in defeating the Giants 6-3 in Northwest League baseball.
Emergency starter Jason Ritter (2-1), who pitched five strong innings, was the beneficiary as Spokane (8-14) dropped Bellingham to 11-11 on a warm night at Seafirst Stadium.
Bellingham retained its Northern Division tie with Yakima, which again lost to Everett. Spokane closed within three games of first.
Hallmark, Ritter’s batterymate, stepped to the plate in the fourth with two outs and the score tied at 1. Spokane had Mark Melito, who had doubled home Scott Kortmeyer, still at second and Dwayne Lewis on first with a walk.
“(Starting pitcher Benjamin Tucker) got two strikes on me and I tried to choke up and put the ball in play,” said Hallmark, who poked a fly to shallow center field.
Three Giants converged on the quickly falling popup. Left fielder Ray Corujo stepped in front at the last moment, but he dropped the ball. Spokane 3, Bellingham 1.
“That worked out well,” Hallmark said. “It gave us the lead and we kept it.”
“I think it was a combination of things: their mistakes and our hitting,” said Indians manager Al Pedrique.
Hallmark’s next time up, in the sixth, found Tyrone Frazier on second base after a single and his first stolen base of the season. (A rarity, since no Spokane starter had stolen a base entering the game.)
Hallmark grounded to shortstop Joseph Nathan, who tried to nail Frazier heading to third. Nathan’s wide throw sent Frazier home and Hallmark to second. After Hallmark stole third, William Roland completed the Spokane scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Ritter left after his 51-pitch limit, having allowed three singles and one earned run. He struck out four and walked none.
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