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Sports >  Spokane Indians

Case Williams impressive in High-A debut, Spokane Indians drop Eugene 6-2

Aug. 6, 2022 Updated Sat., Aug. 6, 2022 at 9:38 p.m.

Case Williams is in just his second season of professional baseball, but he’s already had an interesting ride.

He was drafted by his home team Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2020 MLB draft, then traded before he ever threw a competitive pitch. The Rockies reacquired Williams from the Cincinnati Reds at last season’s trade deadline and he was tearing up Low-A this season until his promotion to the Spokane Indians earlier this week. 

The Indians are happy to have him, however long that might be.

Williams was perfect through his first three innings, Bladimir Restituyo knocked in three and the Indians beat the Emeralds 6-2 in the fifth game of a six-game High-A Northwest League series at Avista Stadium on Saturday. 

The fourth-place Indians (17-17) have taken three of five from second-place Eugene (21-14).

Williams, from Castle Rock, Colorado, made 16 starts for Low-A Fresno this season, going 9-2 with a 4.22 ERA and 90 strikeouts over 89 2/3 innings. 

On Saturday, the 20-year-old was even better, allowing two runs – one earned – on just four hits and no walks with nine strikeouts over five innings. He threw 81 pitches, 54 for strikes.

“I felt good,” Williams said. “I felt like everything was working. Just go out there and compete just like it was any other game of the season.”

Williams was excited to show his midseason promotion was no fluke.

“It’s kind of nice to know the hard work is paying off and (the organization is) watching,” he said. “But yeah, just adds more excitement and drive to keep going.”

“He was electric tonight,” Indians pitching coach Ryan Kibler said. “That’s a breaking ball right there. Painting the corners with the fastball. Confident. He was not afraid to fill up the strike zone, was not afraid of contact.

“Just hung one slider and paid for it. Didn’t make many mistakes at all. Probably could have ran him out there for the sixth but I wanted him to finish on a good note.”

The Indians staked Williams to a lead in the second inning. Hunter Goodman singled, went to third on a single by Colin Simpson and scored on a grounder by Ronaiker Palma. 

Williams was perfect through his first three innings, striking out six along the way. The first batter of the fourth, Vaun Brown, got under one that carried just over the fence in left field for a solo homer to tie the game 1-1.

An error by Eddy Diaz at second allowed Andy Thomas to reach in the fifth and Williams almost got out of it unscathed, picking up his ninth strikeout of the game. But Brown lashed a two-out single to score Thomas from second and Eugene led 2-1.

Brown, who was promoted to Eugene in late June, is hitting .372 (16 for 43) with four homers and 13 RBIs against Spokane in 11 games. 

“We’ve got to locate to him and we just didn’t locate,” Kibler said. “I think we know how to how to attack him. But no matter what we have to locate.”

Palma and Mateo Gil hit back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom half. A sacrifice bunt moved both up, and Palma scored on a groundout to tie it. Diaz bounced one through the middle to plate Gil and give the Indians a 3-2 lead.

Diaz recently came back after a three-week absence due to a leg injury.

“I’m still not sure he’s 100 percent,” Indians manager Scott Little said. “He’s been champing at the bit to get back on the field. And he got the big knock. It was a big knock at the time.”

The Indians padded the lead in the seventh. Gil singled and Trevor Boone hit a ground rule double into the left field corner. Restituyo followed with a single up the middle through a drawn-in infield for a 5-2 lead. 

Restituyo is hitting .309 since July 1.

“He’s been doing a great job, he’s just a totally different guy,” Little said. “I mean, he’s been patient. He’s given himself a chance to hit and he’s had a really good approach, an in-control approach and that just makes him a different player.”

Two batters later, Zac Veen lined a single down the right field line for a four-run lead. 

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