Jurickson Profar hit the ball all around Avista Stadium on Sunday night, but his biggest play came while making an inning-ending out in the eighth.
Profar stayed in a rundown between first and second base long enough for Josh Richmond to score the go-ahead run in the Spokane Indians’ fourth consecutive Northwest League win in their second-to-last regular-season home game.
The Indians defeated the Boise Hawks 5-4, but nothing seemed assured until Spokane second baseman Alejandro Selen turned a game-ending double play to strand a Boise runner at third base. Selen fielded Kyung Min Na’s sharp grounder, stepped on second base and threw to first to officially eliminate Boise from postseason play.
“I was just trying to get a ground ball (in the ninth),” said Indians closer Colby Killian, who recorded his team-high sixth save. “Alejandro just made a great play.”
Profar and Selen, who played left field until the ninth, atoned for an eighth-inning blunder that had allowed the Hawks to take a 4-3 lead.
Spokane first baseman Andrew Clark, whose error in the seventh let Boise tie the score at 3, also got his chance at redemption, but the night’s outcome is probably best understood by looking at matters chronologically.
Indians starter Nicholas McBride pitched six sharp innings and left with a 3-1 lead. His one mistake came on his second pitch of the game, which Alvaro Ramirez lined off The Depot roof beyond right field for a 1-0 lead.
Profar led the comeback, tying the game with a second-inning RBI double, singling during a one-run fourth, and lining a solo homer into the Grotto in the sixth.
Clark dropped second baseman Santiago Chirino’s throw to first in the seventh to set up Dustin Harrington’s two-out, two-run double for a 3-all game.
The Hawks took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on Richard Jones’ single, a routine fly to left that found Profar charging out from shortstop while Selen moved in.
“(Selen) was playing back and he called for the ball, but he thought we were going to crash and he moved away,” Profar said.
Boise’s Eric Rice (1-1) walked Michael Olt and Clark to start the eighth. Both moved up on Richmond’s single.
Profar, 3 for 3 to that point, reached first base on a fielder’s choice that saw Olt forced out at home.
Jordan Latham relieved Rice and got Chirino to fly out to right. The throw home was too late to get Clark, and Boise catcher Jeff Vigurs attempted to catch Profar between first and second. Profar dodged the rundown just long enough for Richmond to scamper home.
The Indians, East Division first-half champions, are 18-13 in the second half and will play at Yakima in Game 1 of the divisional series on Sept. 6. Yakima officially wrapped up the spot by defeating Tri-City 4-3 on Sunday.