It’s not often that minor leaguers see a familiar face in the stands. Well, except for Spokane Indians right fielder Chad Smith, who can almost always count on his dad to be in attendance – especially on Father’s Day.
His father, Ronald, who had a short stint with what was the Chicago Cubs’ Short-A Williamsport Cubs in the 1990s, made several trips to Spokane last season to watch Chad.
On Sunday, he was back in Avista Stadium to see his son play as Spokane split a doubleheader, losing 3-1 before rebounding for a 10-0 win in a pair of seven-inning games.
Ronald got to sit back and enjoy a great Father’s Day at the ballpark, which is the only thing he really cared about doing this weekend, Chad said.
“He doesn’t really ask for much,” Chad said. “He just enjoys watching me play.”
So does pitcher Alex Speas’ father, Rodney, who traveled from Georgia to see his son make his first start with the Indians.
Speas was selected by the Rangers in the second round in the 2016 draft and played in the Arizona rookie league.
The 19-year-old said his dad traveled to Arizona three times last season to watch Speas pitch, but Sunday’s showing was a bit more special.
“I feel like I couldn’t have given (my dad) a better gift then just being out there pitching,” Speas said. “If he sees me walking off the field with a smile on my face, I know he’ll be happy.”
Speas threw 1 1/3 innings and gave up a pair of runs in the opening-game loss.
Speas delivered a 1-2-3 first inning, but gave up three runs in the second, including a home run, and picking up a throwing error after attempting to pick off Boise’s Ryan Metzler at second base.
Despite the clumsy start, Speas said he was satisfied with the outing.
“I feel like I went out there and I was able to accomplish some things that I haven’t been able to do in a while,” Speas said.
Three Indians relievers gave up just two hits the rest of the way but Spokane managed just a lone run in the second with 10 Indians striking out.
Charles Leblanc scored Spokane’s run after reaching on a single, moving to second on a wild pitch and scoring on Chad Smith’s double.
In the second game, the Indians fired back with Kobie Taylor hitting two home runs.
“That’s the kind of game I like, where I can just come in and sit down and enjoy and watch as long as we have our seven-, nine-, 10-run lead,” manager Matt Hagen said.
The Indians (2-2) had Hagen sitting comfortably in the dugout as they unloaded on the Hawks with seven runs in the first inning.
Taylor got the Indians rolling with a lead-off home run to left field. Andretty Cordero added a two-run shot to center.
The Indians then loaded the bases with a walk and two singles against right-hander Luis Guzman. Austin O’Banion hit a sacrifice fly and Isaias Quiroz drove in another with a double. Another run scored on a dropped strike three with Kole Enright coming home on the throw to first with the seventh run scoring on a wild pitch.
Indians starter Reiver Sanmartin gave up six hits over five innings while striking out five. Jacob Rogers struck out the side twice in his two innings of relief.
Taylor stretched Spokane’s lead to 9-0 in the fourth with his second homer.
Taylor scored Spokane’s final run in the sixth after drawing a walk and eventually taking a free pass home after Boise center fielder JB Moss overthrew third base with the ball landing in the visitors’ dugout.