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Spokane Indians inching closer to playoff spot behind hot-hitting Daniel Montano

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 18, 2021

In an undated file photo, Daniel Montano takes a swing for the Spokane Indians.  (James Snook/Spokane Indians)
In an undated file photo, Daniel Montano takes a swing for the Spokane Indians. (James Snook/Spokane Indians)

Don’t look now, but the Spokane Indians are inching closer to a possible playoff spot.

In their most recent homestand, the Indians won four of five games against the first-place Everett AquaSox, from whom they have taken eight of 11 games in the season series.

They followed that up by winning four of six in Pasco against Tri-City last week.

One of the reasons the Indians are playing so well is the hitting of Daniel Montano.

The 22-year-old outfielder has hit in nine of his past 10 games and is hitting .444 (16 for 36) in August. He had multihit games with seven RBIs in the last five games of the series against the Dust Devils.

“We won four games, that was good for the team,” Montano said. “I’m happy that we played good.

“We’re a couple of games out to make the playoffs so I just tried to help the team to win.”

Entering play on Tuesday, the Indians trailed Everett by 9½ games, but were just 6½ behind second-place Eugene. Everett, which lost most of its highly-ranked prospects to promotion, went 3-8 in its past 11 games.

Montano was promoted from Low-A Fresno on July 16. He hit .301/.390/.446 in 52 games for the Grizzlies and has hit .298 for the Indians in 22 games.

“We tried to not change too much here (after the promotion),” Montano said. “About the only thing different we’ve tried is to not reach (for outside pitches) here. But it’s the same baseball, you know? Same innings, same pitchers from Low-A to High-A. We just make little adjustments.”

Montano likes to clear his head at the plate.

“I don’t worry about the mechanics,” he said. “Sometimes your mechanics is not correct, but with your approach and your confidence at the plate you can still have good results.”

He takes advantage of video and scouting reports, but to a certain point.

“I don’t like to look too much,” he said. “I’ll look at the (scouting) report on how they throw. You know, sometime the report says one thing and in the game it’s different. So you have to trust your eyes when you come to the plate.”

Montano appreciates the new minor league schedule of six-game series with a dedicated day off each week.

“I think we have more time to rest,” he said. “In the last season we’d play three games, then we’d be on the road for seven hours and play that day. That’s hard. Now we have six-game homestands or six away games. We have more time to rest. I think that it’s better for us.”

Tuesday game postponed

Tuesday’s home series opening game against Hillsboro was postponed due to poor air quality in Spokane because of the wildfires across central and Eastern Washington and western Canada.

The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sunday with two seven-inning games. The first game is scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m.

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