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Sports >  Spokane Indians

Jack Blomgren ignites the offense, Spokane Indians win fourth straight over first-place Everett

Aug. 6, 2021 Updated Sat., Aug. 7, 2021 at 1:36 a.m.

Helcris Olivarez turns 21 on Sunday. It’s an important thing to remember as he navigates his first full professional season.

When he’s on, as he was the in the first three innings on Friday, he’s been very good. His 97-mph fastball and sharp slider have the Colorado Rockies dreaming that he can one day be a stalwart of their big league pitching staff.

When he’s off – or when something causes him to lose his focus on the mound – things can go sideways in a hurry.

Such was the case in the fourth inning against Everett.

Olivarez struck out the first two batters of the inning, but he was noticeably upset about a ball-four call to cleanup hitter Tyler Keenan. Olivarez then proceeded to issues three more walks with a single sprinkled in, and his night was over.

It was good for the Spokane Indians that their offense showed up early and rendered Olivarez’ implosion irrelevant to the outcome.

Jack Blomgren went 3 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs, and the Indians beat the visiting Everett AquaSox 11-3 in the fourth of a six-game High-A West series at Avista Stadium on Friday.

[BOX SCORE courtesy]

The Indians (41-41) have taken eight of 10 in the season series from the first-place AquaSox (51-30).

Isaac Collins, the reigning High-A West player of the week, continued his hot streak going 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Collins is 22 for 39 (.564) with six doubles, a pair of homers, 14 runs, and 13 RBIs in the first 10 games of the homestand.

Olivarez made his league-leading 17th start of the season. In six July starts, he posted an 8.51 ERA and walked 23 batters in 24⅓ innings.

On Friday, he recorded just eight outs and allowed three runs on two hits and five walks with a wild pitch and a balk. He threw 82 pitches – just 42 for strikes

“It’s very frustrating,” Indians pitching coach Ryan Kibler said. “That can’t happen. That can’t happen anymore. I was over the age excuse a long time ago. And maybe that’s just me. But that can’t happen, and he’s going to have to learn here soon, or he’s gonna keep getting beat up.”

Olivarez got three straight ground ball outs in the first.

“He was so good (early), just pumping fastballs, commitment to fastballs, beating hitters with fastballs,” Kibler said. “They couldn’t do anything with it, just some groundball outs.”

The Indians bats went to work on Everett starter Tim Elliott.

Collins drew a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third on a single by Hunter Stovall. Elliott committed a balk, allowing Collins to walk home and Stovall to move up to second.

Niko Decolati reached on an error to put runners at second and third with no outs. Colton Welker’s fly to deep center plated Stovall and Decolati hustled home on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

Everett got a run in the third on a double by Liam Sabino, followed by a wild pitch and a balk by Olivarez.

In the bottom half, Brenton Doyle – in his first game in 10 days due to the birth of his first child – reached on a fielder’s choice, went to second when Grant Lavigne was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Aaron Schunk.

Blomgren’s line-drive single to right plated two more. Collins delivered an RBI single and Blomgren scored on a throwing error by the shortstop to make it 9-1.

After Olivarez struck out the first two batters of the fourth, he walked cleanup hitter Tyler Keenan on a close pitch and was visibly upset. 

Kibler went to the mound to talk with Olivarez.

“I pointed out the score of the game,” Kibler said. “That we were out out ahead and we needed to throw a bunch of strikes.”

The opposite happened. 

Olivarez walked three of the next four batters to force in a pair of runs, and Indians manager Scott Little came out with the hook.

“He was overthrowing, which lead to balls, and then balls led to guiding it up there, just feeling it out there,” Kibler said.  “Frustrations also came into play, maturity and frustration, came into play. And outwardly showing it. That doesn’t help his cause and hasn’t all year.”

Boby Johnson came on to get a popup to end the damage.

Blomgren reached on his third single of the night in the fifth, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch.

Spokane loaded the bases in the seventh on three consecutive singles. Collins drove in a run with a sacrifice and Decolati’s infield single loaded them again for Welker, who had homered in three straight games.

His bid for a fourth died at the warning track.

Alex Moore and Fineas Del Bonta-Smith pitched three scoreless innings to close it out.

The series continues Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Seattle Mariners No. 3 prospect George Kirby is scheduled to start for Everett against the Indians’ Noah Davis.

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