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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Big inning lifts Indians to victory

J.D. Larson Correspondent

A home opener is, for most teams, a game full of opportunity, promise and hope for a successful new season.

Spokane made the most of its opener, turning possibilities into runs during a six-run fourth inning, which led to a 7-4 Northwest League win over Everett in front of an opening-night crowd of 6,702 at Avista Stadium.

It was timely hitting sparking the Indians – a concept noticeably absent from their 2-3 road trip in Eugene – which saw the team bat .222 and score only 14 runs in five games. In this win, the Indians scored their seven runs with the benefit of only five hits.

“When were in Eugene, I kept turning to (pitching coach Glenn Abbott) and saying, ‘Look at this, they got four runs on two hits,’ ” Spokane manager Greg Riddoch said. “I said our chance was going to come for that kind of stuff.”

Spokane blew the ballgame open in the fourth against a previously stingy Everett pitching staff. The Indians took advantage of some wildness from Everett starter Marwin Vega (0-2). Vega loaded the bases without a hit, hitting one batter and walking two with nobody out.

Indians first baseman Freddy Thon followed by lining a hanging curve down the right-field line to score two and give Spokane a 3-2 lead.

Vega walked Wally Backman to reload the bases, and after a strikeout, leadoff hitter Terry Blunt cleared the bases with a stand-up triple to the wall in right-center.

“We’ve had so many in Eugene where we were right there, second and third and one out or nobody out and we couldn’t score,” Riddoch said. “Terry came through tonight with a bases-clearing triple and that was the big difference.”

“Personally, I was pressing a little bit (in Eugene), because it’s your first professional series,” Blunt said. “Once you see guys with the bases loaded getting hits like Freddy did, it just kind of picks you up and you say, ‘Hey, I can do that, too.’ “

Everett took the early lead in the second inning off Spokane starter Kea Kometani, who was called up to long-season single-A Clinton (Iowa) following the game. Kometani threw four innings in his second start of the year, allowing five hits and his first two runs of the season while striking out five.

Kellan McConnell earned his second win of the year in relief of Kometani, throwing three innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Jon Wilson finished the game for the Indians, striking out two in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

Notes

Spokane acquired a couple of new pitchers Sunday, with the addition of 2005 11th-round draft pick Nate Fogle and this year’s 16th-round selection, Jesse Hall. Fogle is a right-handed reliever from Oregon State and Hall comes from Yavapai (Ariz.) College and gives the Indians a left-handed option on the mound. … Randi Albertson, a graduating senior who had perfect attendance as a senior at Spokane Valley High School, won a 2004 Hyundai Tiburon as part of a drawing after the game promoting attendance in local schools.

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