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Peter Van Gansen leads Northwest League to All-Star win

The first dive worked for the Pioneer League. The second came up just short.

Peter Van Gansen of the Tri-City Dust Devils delivered a one-out RBI single into the right-field corner Tuesday as the Northwest League All-Stars edged their Pioneer counterparts 6-5 in 10 innings at Avista Stadium.

Van Gansen’s first-pitch single against Missoula’s Dan Savas near the line just evaded diving right fielder Amalani Fukofuka of Idaho Falls, scoring the Spokane Indians’ Yeyson Yrizarri from second base.

“I was just trying to get a fastball that I could hit,” Van Gansen said. “I guessed right, I guess. It was pretty close. I thought he was going to dive and catch it. I wasn’t very sure. It was probably about a foot or two. I was just hoping it fell.”

Vancouver’s Justin Atkinson doubled to open the 10th. Yrizarri grounded to third baseman Michael Pierson of Orem, who found Atkinson straying toward third, ran him back to second and caught him with a diving tag.

“It was just a fluke play,” Van Gansen said. “The guy made a good play at third, but we had faith in ourselves.”

Spokane’s LeDarious Clark singled Yrizarri into scoring position for Van Gansen.

The NWL needed to score in the 10th because the game couldn’t go to an 11th inning. The winner would have been decided by the home run derby champion, the Pioneer’s Luke Lowery of Missoula.

“We had one (pitcher) go long, so we had to bring another pitcher in an inning early,” Spokane/NWL manager Tim Hulett said. “I was hoping the game would end in nine so he wouldn’t have go that last one. But he was low on pitches, but if he’d gotten in trouble, we would have had to bring a position player back in the game to pitch.”

The NWL struck first, with one out in the bottom of the first, on back-to-back doubles by Everett’s Drew Jackson and Boise’s Kevin Padlo.

Orem catcher Taylor Ward evened the score with a one-out solo homer to left field in the second.

Grand Junction’s Daniel Suero laced his second double of the game with one out in the third. He scored from third on a groundout to second base by Orem’s Michael Pierson for a 2-1 Pioneer lead.

Clark used his speed to tie the game at 2 in the fifth. Clark walked on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, stole second and third, and scored on Padlo’s second RBI of the game, a single up the middle.

Helena’s David Denson gave the Pioneer a 3-2 edge with a lined, one-out solo homer to right in the sixth.

Padlo started a two-run rally in the seventh with a one-out walk. Padlo scored for a 3-all tie on a wild pitch by Pioneer reliever Cameron Smith of Missoula. Salem-Keizer’s Jose Vizcaino Jr. gave the NWL a 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly to center.

The Pioneer seized a 5-4 lead in the eighth as Denson stroked a one-out RBI single and scored on an RBI single to center by Lowery.

The NWL tied the game at 5 in the eighth when Clark doubled and scored from third when Padlo, who reached base all five times, struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch.

“It was good to be on base a lot, couple walks, couple hits, couple RBIs,” Padlo said. “It was a fun night. … I just put a couple good swings on both those (RBIs).” 

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