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Sports >  Spokane Indians

Matt Krook leads charge as Salem-Keizer nearly no-hits Spokane Indians

By Josh Horton joshho@spokesman.com

Salem-Keizer was only three outs away from a no-hitter, but it still doesn’t discount Volcanoes starting pitcher Matt Krook’s performance.

Krook threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out four in a 14-2 win over the Spokane Indians on Tuesday at Avista Stadium. He set the tone in what was almost the first Northwest League no-hitter this season.

The Indians couldn’t figure out Krook’s fastball, which moves down in the zone and induces many ground ball outs. Tonight, nine of Krooks 14 outs were on the ground.

“At any time he can get a ground ball,” Salem-Keizer pitching coach Matt Yourkin said. “He’s got one of the best moving fastballs I’ve seen in a long time.”

A fourth-round pick by the Giants in 2016’s MLB draft, Krook’s road to the minor leagues wasn’t straightforward. He was drafted in 2013 by the Miami Marlins in the first round (No. 35 overall), but his offer was pulled after his physical revealed a slight tear in his left throwing shoulder.

But it all worked out in the end for Krooks, who went to St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco and was later drafted by his hometown team.

“I was a big Giants fan growing up,” Krooks said. “It was pretty surreal being drafted by the team I’ve rooted for all my life.”

After turning professional was no longer an option, Krook set his sights on playing at the University of Oregon, where he enjoyed an affluent freshman season, until he underwent Tommy John surgery to cut his season short. He earned Louisville Slugger first-team Freshman All-America honors after leading the Pac-12 in strikeouts and posting a 1.79 E.RA.

He sat out his entire sophomore season before making his return as a junior. But he didn’t pick up where he left off. Command issues plagued his final season with the Ducks, but he slowly progressed and is one of the most highly-touted arms in the Northwest League.

Since being called up from rookie ball in on July 5, Krook has yet to give up an earned run in two starts.

But with a 75-pitch limit, Krook is finding it difficult to get through the five innings needed to be eligible for a win.

“I want to get my first pro win out of the way at some point,” Krook said.

Patrick Ruotolo followed Krook with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, but Jeff Burke gave up a single to Preston Scott to lead up the ninth inning to break up the no-hitter.

Ruotolo picked up win for Salem-Keizer. Krook reached his pitch limit and was taken out with a 1/3 inning away being the winning pitcher.

Salem-Keizer turned the game into a laugher in the sixth inning, posting six runs. The Volcanoes sent all-nine hitters to the plate and saw two pitchers — Chirstian Torres and Kevin Lenik.

The Volcanoes added another in the seventh, as well as four more insurance runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

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