LeDarious Clark gave the Spokane Indians the boost they needed Monday, even before he extended his long hitting streak.
Clark finished 2 for 3 with two runs, two runs batted in and two stolen bases – and made a potential game-changing play in left field – as the Indians bounced back from Sunday’s 11-2 loss for an 8-2 victory over the Boise Hawks in Northwest League play at Avista Stadium.
Clark increased his hitting streak to 16 games with a double to left-center in the seventh inning. The streak is Spokane’s third longest since the turn of the century, behind Royce Bolinger (23 in 2012) and Adam Fox (18 in 2003).
“I try my best not to think about it,” Clark said. “Toward the middle of the game I’m like, ‘Let me just stay within myself, stay within my approach and do what I have to do to play my game.’ ”
Clark walked to lead off the first inning, stole second and third, and scored on Dylan Moore’s double. His sacrifice fly to left field in the second scored Yeyson Yrizarri for a 3-1 lead. He then helped Spokane keep that advantage during Boise’s third by chasing down Brian Mundell’s fly ball into the gap with Kevin Padlo on second base.
“He’s a complete player,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “My little nickname for him is he’s lightning in a bottle. He can do a lot of different things. He can really run the bases. … He wasn’t waiting for me to send him. He was reading it all on his own. And he made the great catch in left field with a man on second base, so he saved us a run there, too.”
Now, if people could only learn to spell his first name. Clark said after the game that “LeDarious” is the correct spelling, but even the University of West Florida, where he played, spells it differently on its website.
“It’s crazy, just all the ways I’ve seen it spelled,” Clark said. “It’s all right, though. It’s all right.”
Clark (.406), second in league batting to Boise’s Yonathan Daza (.418), is also among the league leaders in stolen bases, slugging percentage, runs, hits and on-base percentage.
“I want to get more bags right now,” said Clark, whose nine stolen bases are one behind Everett’s Drew Jackson. “I got a gift, so right now I’m just trying to use it to the best of my ability.”
Indians starter Luke Lanphere (1-0) checked the Hawks on six hits and two earned runs in five innings. Omarlin Lopez threw three scoreless innings and Kohsuke Tomita worked a scoreless ninth as Indians pitching bounced back after surrendering 21 hits on Sunday.
Clark, Moore, Yrizarri, Connor McKay, Leon Byrd and Diego Cedeno doubled for Spokane.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Hulett said of the doubles. “We don’t have to steal second because we’re already there. Then we did a good job of situational hitting. We moved that runner to third base and then we got him in.”
Spokane (10-9) took a 2-1 lead in the five-game series and pulled within one game of Everett (11-8) in the North Division. Boise is in last place in the South Division at 7-12.
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