June 23, 2014 in Sports

Spokane Indians off to best start in 77 years

By The Spokesman-Review
 

It’s been a long time since the Spokane Indians featured fearsome hitters such as Jose Trevino and Luke Tendler at the third and fourth spots in their batting order.

It’s been longer still since a Spokane professional baseball team had such a torrid start to the season – 77 years, to be exact.

Trevino and Tendler both homered and finished a combined 5 for 7 with four runs batted in Sunday afternoon to spur the Indians (8-1) toward a 6-2 win over the Boise Hawks (4-6) in Northwest League play at Avista Stadium.

The 1937 Spokane Hawks of the Western International League also started their season 8-1. A win today in the middle game of the five-game series would be the best mark since the 1911 Indians started 13-1.

“I don’t know anything about Spokane or the Spokane Indians, but just hearing that, that’s just awesome,” said Tendler, who staked Spokane to a 2-1 first-inning lead with his second homer of the season. “It’s incredible. It seems like we’re making history right now.”

Tendler’s homer, a liner over The Depot in right field, came after Trevino’s two-out single to left. Trevino was on base four times and provided the winner with his first pro homer, a solo shot to left-center in the fifth that snapped a 2-all tie.

“There’s a big wall over there, so I didn’t know if I had it or not,” Trevino said. “But when I hit it I thought, ‘Oh man, that might go.’ … I was more excited that my family was here to see it, my brother (Victor) and his girlfriend. They came from Texas.”

“Tendler’s just been hot,” eighth-year Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “He’s been getting the big hit for us and he got it again today. And Trevino was back in the lineup today (after resting Saturday) and had a great day. … Three and four (in the order), that’s probably as good as we’ve had for a long time here.”

Indians relievers Nick Dignacco (1-0), David Perez and John Fasola stymied the Hawks for the final six innings. Dignacco earned his first pro win after striking out four in three innings. Fasola picked up his second save with two perfect innings, including four strikeouts.

Spokane’s bullpen has allowed seven earned runs in 38 2/3 innings (1.63 ERA) this season.

“You see guys pitching better and better as you go, because there is that competition down there,” said Dignacco, who hadn’t pitched in a week. “When one guy does well, you want to step up and do your job when your name is called.”

“(Dignacco) had three sharp innings,” Hulett said. “He didn’t come out and just get through three innings. He dominated the strike zone. He threw both his pitches in the strike zone and used both sides of the plate really well.”

Eduard Pinto picked up his league-best 11th RBI with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to cap the scoring.

The Indians are 6-0 at home and haven’t lost a nine-inning game this season.

Spokane maintained its 2½-game lead over Vancouver in the North Division.

Notes

NWL batting leader Seth Spivey (.500) was a late scratch from the Indians’ lineup at designated hitter after tweaking his neck during batting practice. Spivey was replaced by Saquan Johnson, who went 2 for 5 after starting the season 1 for 17. … Indians lefty Greg Williams was transferred to the Arizona Rookie League. Williams pitched one inning during Spokane’s second game of the season, allowing two hits and one earned run. … Spokane leads the league in attendance with an average of 5,199 per game.


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