- Redhawks defeat Royals 9-1, win 15th straight overall
- Up next: Denver Greens (12:30 p.m., Sunday, Heritage)
- 2018 HR: Johnson (1), Gillem (1)
- Redhawks record: 5-0
- 2018 pitching records: Rodriquez 3-0, Willis 1-0, Smith 1-0
SMITH ESCAPES SHAKY FIRST, CRUISES TO WIN
Left-hander strikes out nine as Redhawks push streak to 15
DENVER – With the Royals producing singles at the rate of Match.com, Dylan Smith had a situation on his hands Sunday.
The Royals produced five base hits in the opening inning and were threatening to explode early. But Smith coaxed a double play and registered a gutsy bases-loaded strikeout to limit the damage to one run. That was the Royals’ best shot to get to the left-hander, and the Redhawks went on to win 9-1 on a cloudy day at Machebeuf.
While it might sound like a runaway, the Hawks led only 3-1 entering the eighth before erupting for six runs to put it out of reach. Smith went on to strike out nine over eight innings of work in registering his first win of the young season.
“Dylan’s ability to escape that first was the game,” teammate Paul Willis said. “If they hit one to the gap there, we’re looking at a big early deficit. But he got the big strikeout and was able to settle in after that.”
In an odd statistical quirk, Smith allowed 11 hits and only one run. But that total was inflated by the five-hit first, and Smith’s innings were relatively quick the rest of the way. The former Northern Colorado athlete improved to 8-0 in his Redhawks career, including a win in last season’s Triple-A title game.
Catcher Pat Davis equalized things 1-1 in the second with an RBI single, and the Hawks added two in the fifth on a misplayed groundball and an RBI single by Kyle Jark. Clinging to the 3-1 lead in the eighth, the Redhawks rallied against the Royals bullpen to ensure a 5-0 start to the season.
Derek Johnson lined an RBI single to left to start the rally, Kenneth Weber and Danny Qiu drew bases-loaded walks and pinch hitter Willis lined a two-run single to center. It was Willis’ first hit of the season in four at-bats.
The victory marked 15 straight for the Redhawks, who are scheduled to take on the Denver Greens next week before heading to Las Vegas for a Memorial Day Tournament.
Notes: The Royals dropped to 0-5 but had lost their first four games by a combined five runs, including three consecutive one-run losses. . . . Weber had an RBI double overturned in the sixth when he missed first base and was out on appeal. It marked the second time in team history that situation has occurred, joining a similar occurrence by former outfielder Brian Kosnar in 2003. . . . Casey Hill struck out in the ninth, marking his first whiff in 22 plate appearances this season. . . . Jark tweaked a hamstring in the eighth while moving up on a wild pitch.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . 010 020 060 – 9 9 0
Royals . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 000 000 – 1 13 1
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 4-1-1-0, Rodriquez ss-2b 5-0-0-0, Jark cf 4-1-1-1, Bies rf 4-1-2-0, Cowan 1b 3-1-1-0, Johnson 3b 4-1-2-1, Davis c 3-1-1-1, Weber 2b 3-1-0-1, Qiu dh-ss 3-1-0-1, Smith p 3-1-0-0, Willis lf-p 1-0-1-2. Totals 37-9-9-7.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith (W 1-0) 8-11-1-1-1-9, Willis 1-2-0-0-0-2.
E – None. SB – Weber (3).
RODRIQUEZ SHARP AS REDHAWKS DEFEAT CUBS
Hawks improve to 4-0 in rematch of 2017 Triple-A semifinals
DENVER – May 6 – In a rematch of one of the classic games in Redhawks’ history, the Redhawks were able to sneak past the Cubs again.
This one didn’t quite have the drama of the last one.
Both teams entered Sunday unscathed in the early-season battle, but neither played to peak form on the Machebeuf diamond. The Redhawks rode a three-run first to a 9-4 win, but future matchups against the Cubs when the standings start to take form are sure to get more intense.
The last time the teams met was last season in the Triple-A semifinals, when Adam Bies’ two-run homer in the top of the 10th propelled the Redhawks to a 7-5 win. The Hawks (4-0) still haven’t lost since then, a span of 14 games.
Starters Edison Rodriquez of the Redhawks and JD Heredia of the Cubs were both sharp in this one, but the normally reliable defenses weren’t as the teams combined for nine errors. The first of which, a misplayed fly ball by the Cubs in the first, paved the way to the early rally for the Redhawks (4-0).
That inning included an RBI single by Kyle Jark and sacrifice flies by Tommy Cowan and Derek Johnson. The pitchers settled in from there, as Heredia retired 17 straight Redhawks batters after the first, including 10 via strikeout. All the while Rodriquez was putting together a stretch of 14 straight outs.
The Redhawks led 5-1 in the seventh, but committed two errors in the bottom of the inning to help the Cubs trim the deficit to 5-4. But Jark and Adam Bies produced RBI singles in the top of the eighth to push the lead to three, and Kenneth Weber came on for a two-inning save.
Rodriquez (3-0) allowed one earned run over seven innings, helping reduce the Redhawks’ team ERA to 1.50.
Notes: The Redhawks registered three sacrifice flies in a game for the second time this season. Weber added one in the ninth to join the first-inning pair. . . . The Redhawks have won three straight in the series after dropping the first two to the Cubs last season. . . . The Redhawks again played without utility man Justin Baum, who recently had bone chips removed from his throwing elbow.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . 300 000 222 – 9 8 4
Cubs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .000 001 300 – 4 7 5
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith lf 4-1-1-0, Gillem c 4-1-0-0, Jark cf 4-2-2-2, Bies dh 3-0-1-1, Cowan 1b-3b 3-0-0-1, Johnson 3b-1b 2-2-1-1, Rodriquez p 3-1-1-0, Davis 3-1-1-0, Weber ss-2b-p 3-0-0-1, Hill rf 3-1-1-0, Qiu ss 1-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 1-0-0-0. Totals 34-9-8-6.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Rodriquez (W 3-0) 7-5-4-1-1-5, Weber (Sv 1) 2-2-0-0-0-2.
E – Johnson, Qiu, Makovsky, Rodriquez. 2B – Johnson. SB – Weber (3). SF – Cowan, Johnson, Weber.
BATS ERUPT AS HAWKS BLAST BOMBERS
Johnson rips homer, five hits; Gillem also leaves the yard
LITTLETON – April 29 – The Redhawks have built their identity in Triple-A on pitching and defense. If this early-season trend keeps up, they might be more regarded for the their lumber.
The Hawks blasted their way to a 15-1 win Sunday against the Bombers, taking command early on the Littleton diamond behind a relentless hitting attack that harked back to their days in previous divisions.
Third baseman Derek Johnson went 5-for-5 with a homer and four RBI, catcher Pat Davis went 4-for-4 and four others collected three hits as the Hawks erupted to 24 overall. Included in that fray was Chuck Gillem, who contributed a single, double and two-run homer.
“It’s been awhile since I hit one,” Gillem said.
Pitcher Paul Willis, meanwhile, cruised through eight innings en route to his first win of the season and 140th as a member of the Redhawks. He allowed four hits, struck out four and permitted a solo homer in the sixth.
The bats were the story, though, as the Redhawks (3-0) exploded for nine runs in the first two innings. Kyle Jark, Adam Bies and Tommy Cowan added three hits apiece and combined for four of the Redhawks’ five doubles.
The Bombers moved up to Triple-A from the 18 Wood Division, where they went 14-1-1 in the regular season last year. They had racked up 24 runs in splitting their first two games, but fell into a big hole early in this one.
The Redhawks take on the Cubs next week in a matchup of unbeaten squads and a rematch of last season’s semifinals, which the Redhawks won 7-5 on Bies’ two-run homer in the 10th.
Notes: Left fielder Casey Hill led off and went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. He’s gone 7-for-10 in the first three games. . . . The Hawks played without Edison Rodriquez, Dylan Smith and Justin Baum. . . . The Redhawks are batting .388 through three games and have team ERA of 1.67.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . 540 100 05 – 15 24 4
Bombers . . . . . . . . . . .000 001 00 – 1 4 3
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 3-3-1-0, Gillem rf 5-3-3-2, Jark cf-1b 5-2-3-2, Bies dh-cf 5-3-3-1, Cowan 1b-ss 5-2-3-3, Johnson 3b 5-2-5-4, Weber ss-2b-1b 4-0-0-1, Davis c 4-0-4-1, Qiu ss-3b-2b 4-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 4-0-2-0, Willis p 3-0-0-0. Totals 47-15-24-14.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis (W 1-0) 8-4-1-1-1-4.
E – Johnson, Willis, Qiu, Weber. 2B – Jark 2 (3), Cowan (2), Gillem (1), Bies (1). HR – Johnson (1), Gillem (1). SB – Weber (2).
GILLEM'S PLUNKING RESULTS IN HAWKS WIN
Catcher beaned in helmet to force in winning run in 10th
LAKEWOOD – April 15 – The situation was how Chuck Gillem would have drawn it up. Bases loaded, tie game in the bottom of the 10th with his parents in attendance visiting from Oregon.
Plenty of ways existed to get it done – and Gillem indeed came through. It just wasn’t the way he envisioned.
The Redhawks veteran catcher was plunked on the helmet to force in the winning run in a 5-4 decision over Night Train. The Redhawks dugout was ready to erupt on the Bear Creek diamond, but the situation was more awkward than jubilant.
“Chuck got two RBIs without having to swing the bat,” said Redhawks pitcher-infielder Kenneth Weber, referring also to a bases-loaded walk drawn by Gillem to put the Redhawks ahead 4-3 in the eighth.
Gillem was OK after the peculiar walk-off, as the pitch wasn’t a direct hit to the temple area of the helmet. As a result, the Redhawks improved to 2-0 against a solid new Triple-A opponent. Three Night Train pitchers combined to whiff 15 Redhawks batters, and the squad registered an RBI double off Weber in the ninth to tie things 4-4.
Left fielder Casey Hill was the lone Redhawks player not to strike out of the 11 who had a plate appearance. Hill went 4-for-4 and has recorded six hits in the Hawks’ first two games. Edison Rodriquez, Adam Bies and Tommy Cowan added two hits apiece, the latter two contributing singles in the 10th to set up the winner.
Rodriquez, who pitched seven strong innings in an opening win against the Hops, earned another win by pitching a scoreless top of the 10th. Starter Dylan Smith pitched five innings (three runs, one earned) and Weber allowed only the ninth-inning run in his four innings of relief.
Notes: Rodriquez stole three bases to give him four in the first two games. The Redhawks, who averaged about one steal a game the past two seasons, have seven swipes in the first two. . . . Cowan and Weber produced doubles in the second to plate the Redhawks’ first run. . . . Center fielder Kyle Jark made a splendid catch on the track with his back facing the infield. . . . Outfielders Justin Baum and Paul Willis were available but didn’t make an appearance. . . . The Redhawks have won 12 straight games overall dating to last season.
Night Train . . . . . . . . 100 110 001 0 – 4 9 3
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . 012 000 010 1 – 5 13 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith p 4-1-1-0, Rodriquez ss-2b-p 4-0-2-0, Jark cf 3-1-1-1, Bies rf 5-1-2-1, Cowan 1b 5-1-2-0, Johnson 3b 3-0-0-0, Gillem c 3-0-0-2, Weber 3b-ss-p 4-0-1-1, Qiu ss 2-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 2-0-0-0, Hill lf 4-1-4-0. Totals 39-5-13-5.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith 5-5-3-1-2-3, Weber 4-3-1-1-1-2, Rodriquez (W 2-0) 1-1-0-0-0-1.
E – Rodriquez, Weber. 2B – Cowan (1), Weber (1). SB – Rodriquez 3 (4). CS – Rodriquez. SF – Jark. HBP – Gillem.
REDHAWKS OPEN 2018 WITH WIN VS. HOPS
Rodriquez earns win against former squad
ENGLEWOOD – April 8 – If it were up to Edison Rodriquez, he’d pitch every inning of every game. And make no mistake – he wanted to on Opening Day against his former Hops squad.
But with arms still rounding into shape, seven was plenty for the right-hander in an opening 10-3 win at Englewood. Rodriquez, beginning his first full season with the Redhawks, allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out five.
“I have about 12 starts in me,” Rodriquez said, referring only to the 18-game regular-season schedule.
The Redhawks took command in the first on a sacrifice fly by Rodriquez and run-scoring single by Chuck Gillem and never trailed. Kyle Jark, Casey Hill and Derek Johnson each produced an RBI double in the victory, which ascended the Redhawks to 14-3 all-time in openers. They’ve won nine of their last 10 openers.
The defense was on point for an early-season matchup, as the Hawks committed only error. The highlight was center fielder Kyle Jark’s catch-and-throw double play in which he nailed a runner at third by about 20 feet.
Hill and Dylan Smith each registered two hits for the Redhawks, both of Smith’s of the infield variety, including a bunt single.
Rodriquez played for the Hops in the spring of 2016 and the regular season last season, but also joined the Redhawks for the Las Vegas Memorial Day Tournament and in the fall. He decided he wanted to remain part of the squad and the Redhawks welcomed him aboard.
Notes: All 14 fulltime Redhawks were in attendance and all got into the game. . . . Pitcher Jeff Spira will be a part-time member this season but will join the Redhawks in Vegas. . . . Paul Willis pitched the final two innings, permitting a run in the ninth. . . . The Redhawks stole four bases and produced three sacrifice flies.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . 201 101 320 – 10 10 1
Hops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 010 010 001 – 3 10 4
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith lf 5-2-2-0, Rodriquez p 4-1-1-2, Jark cf 3-0-1-1, Bies dh 2-1-0-1, Cowan 1b 4-1-1-0, Gillem c 3-1-1-1, Johnson 3b 4-0-1-1, Weber 2b-ss-1b-3b 3-2-1-0, Davis dh 2-0-0-0, Hill rf 3-1-2-2, Makovsky 2b 0-1-0-1, Qiu ss-3b 1-0-0-0, Baum ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 35-10-10-9.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Rodriquez (W 1-0) 7-7-2-1-3-5, Willis 2-3-1-1-0-2.
E – Cowan. 2B – Jark (1), Johnson (1), Hill (1). SB – Smith (1), Rodriquez (1), Gillem (1), Weber (1). SF – Rodriquez, Bies, Makovsky. HBP – Jark, Bies, Weber.
DOUBLE DIP: HAWKS WIN TWO TITLES IN '17
Redhawks add fall championship to go with prestigious summer title
ENGLEWOOD – Oct. 29, 2017 – Champs! Make that Champs! Champs!
The Redhawks accomplished their ambition of capping their Triple-A championship season with a second consecutive Fall League title, this time with a 9-0 win against the Wise Guys.
On another pristine October Sunday at Brent Mayne Field, the Redhawks (25-8) continued to wield their lights-out pitching staff and stingy defense, limiting the Wise Guys to a mere two hits. Starter Jeff Spira stifled the opposing attack and the Redhawks took immediate command by virtue of a six-run first.
“Fall doesn’t invoke the same passion as summer season, but it always feels good to be the best at anything you do,” Redhawks first baseman Tommy Cowan said. “Plus, the numbers we put up in fall were pretty remarkable.”
Those numbers included a 66-5 scoring advantage in an eight-game ambush through the fall, although the Redhawks did play two one-run games and were solidly challenged in a 4-2 victory against the A’s in the semifinals. Dating back to the summer postseason, the Redhawks allowed 10 runs in their final 10 games – all wins.
The Wise Guys were something of an unexpected title-game participant, having avoided the Triple-A Hops on their side of the bracket. Perhaps playing a little tight as the underdog, the Wise Guys made a bevy of first-inning mistakes that allowed the Redhawks to take command.
First, Dylan Smith’s fly ball to lead off the bottom of the first turned into a double when the fierce morning sun prevented the center fielder from making a play. After Smith stole third, Edison Rodriquez drove him home with a grounder to second. But the second baseman overthrew first and Rodriquez was on second. He then stole third and scored when the throw went into left field.
The Hawks had a quick 2-0 lead, then Adam Bies blasted an opposite-field homer and the Redhawks were cruising 3-0 three batters in.
With Spira (6-1) in control, that was already more than enough. The angular right-hander struck out five and permitted two singles in five innings, and finished the season 4-0 with a save in his final five appearances. More impressive, he allowed zero earned runs (four total) and only nine hits in that 28-inning span.
Paul Willis and Rodriquez finished the shutout by pitching an inning apiece, putting the finishing touches on a magnificent season that started a little rough. After opening 2017 a pedestrian 5-5, the Redhawks went 20-3 down the stretch. This marked the second time in which the Hawks won summer and fall titles, but the previous time (in 2013) the summer title was in 18 Wood.
Catcher Pat Davis finished with three RBIs, recording a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a two-run double in the sixth – the latter batting right-handed. Davis has experimented with batting right-handed against lefties this season, and this was his signature moment from the right side. Casey Hill also produced an RBI double for the Hawks.
The Redhawks have appeared in all six Fall League championship games and have won three.
Notes: The Redhawks played without center fielder Kyle Jark, who was vacationing in Europe. All 14 players in attendance got at least one at-bat and played at least two innings in the field. . . . The Redhawks will not consider adding players on a fulltime basis next season. Everyone is expected back and Rodriquez confirmed Sunday that he will officially join the squad for 2018. . . . The Redhawks reduced their team ERA to 2.93 for the season. They allowed only 3.9 runs per game overall. . . . Bies (nine homers, 46 RBIs) came one homer and three RBIs shy of tying single-season team benchmarks. . . . Left fielder Casey Hill spent the most innings in the field (233) and had the most plate appearances (125) of any player. He and fellow corner outfielder Chuck Gillem each ran down balls deep into the gap Sunday. . . . Willis closed the season with 15 scoreless innings. After battling UCL issues last season, the team’s eldest player went 4-2 with one save and a 3.00 ERA this season over 48 innings. . . . Utility player Justin Baum hosted the postgame party, which included yard games and was nearly unanimously attended.
Wise Guys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 000 000 0 – 0 2 4
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 600 102 X – 9 7 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith cf 3-2-2-0, Rodriquez ss-p 2-2-0-1, Bies dh-lf 3-1-1-1, Johnson 3b 2-2-1-0, Cowan 1b 3-1-1-0, Davis c 2-0-1-3, Hill lf 2-1-1-1, Weber 2b-3b 2-0-0-0, Willis p-lf 2-0-0-0, Qiu ss 1-0-0-0, Gillem rf 1-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 1-0-0-0, Baum rf 1-0-0-0, Spira p 1-0-0-0. Totals 29-9-7-6.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Spira (W 6-1) 5-2-0-0-1-5, Willis 1-0-0-0-0-1, Rodriquez 1-0-0-0-1-1.
E – None. 2B – Hill (5), Davis (5), Smith (3). HR – Bies (9). SB – Rodriquez 2 (7), Smith (8). SF – Davis. HBP – Rodriquez.
TRIPLE-A CHAMPS: REDHAWKS CLAIM THE CROWN
Smith and Hill key dramatic shutout win over four-time champion Browns
LAKEWOOD – Sept. 10, 2017 – When approached about starting arguably the most important game in the history of the Redhawks, Dylan Smith was fairly concise about the prospects.
“I feel like I’ll give us a chance,” he said.
The left-hander did a lot more than that. In a historic Sunday at All-Star Park, Smith pitched into the ninth inning of the Redhawks’ 2-0 Triple-A title-clinching win over the perennial-power Denver Browns.
The Redhawks, who broke open a scoreless game in the seventh on a two-run single by Casey Hill, now can firmly be considered among Colorado’s elite after corralling their first championship in NABA’s highest division. That’s despite a few dicey moments in the ninth.
“Defeating the Browns for the crowning achievement of Triple-A champs is only fitting, because they have been our biggest adversaries since we joined the division,” said Kenneth Weber, who earned the save in dramatic fashion. “But more important to me is that I’m proud to have won with the group we have.”
After Smith’s magnificent performance – he yielded five singles and struck out seven in 8 1/3 innings against the Browns’ top-flight lineup – Weber induced a game-ending double play against cleanup hitter Matt Jerebker. One of NABA’s best ever players, Jerebker hit a sharp groundball that third baseman Derek Johnson speared moving to his left. He threw to second baseman Sam Makovsky, who stepped on the bag and relayed to first baseman Tommy Cowan for the clinching out.
“I didn’t realize it was hit that hard until I saw the replay,” Johnson said.
The ending proved to be a reprieve for Makovsky, who committed the game’s lone error on the previous play. The Browns’ Jason Fobes hit what appeared to be a game-ending double-play ball, but the ball five-holed Makovsky and the Browns instead had runners on first and third with one out. That chased Smith, who was making only his fifth career start for the squad. On Weber’s third pitch, the Redhawks got another chance for two and made it happen.
“I would have had to disappear if we ended up losing,” deadpanned Makovsky, who joined the squad in 2012. “It would have been my last game as a Redhawk.”
The Browns pitching was of the high-level variety as well. Starter Nate Barnes didn’t allow a hit until Paul Willis’ single to center in the fifth. The big lefty carried a shutout into the seventh, when Hill’s two-out drive to shallow center narrowly avoided the grasp of diving center fielder Chris Dennis. That scored Chuck Gillem, who had walked, and Weber, who had beaten out a bunt single, with what turned out to be the only runs.
“After getting behind in the count 1-2, I was just looking to for something to put in play,” Hill said. “The pitcher got me in on the hands a little bit, but I was able to muscle the ball over the shortstop and in front of the center fielder. Happy I was able to produce for the team and Dylan, who was pitching a gem.”
The Redhawks had won three previous summer titles, but were 0-1 in Triple-A championship games since joining the division in 2014. The Browns defeated the Redhawks 15-9 in the 2015 final despite a first-inning grand slam by Danny Qiu. This one was the antithesis of 2015, as the teams combined for only one extra-base hit, a double by the Browns’ Trent Kutler in the third.
Smith (5-0) helped keep the bats silent while primarily using only two pitches – a fastball and a slider that possessed devastating downward motion. Smith defeated the Browns for the second time this season, as he also went seven innings in a 9-4 regular-season win. The Browns abundance of talented left-handed hitters struggled with the southpaw, as lefties were 0-for-9 in the contest.
The win capped a remarkable postseason in which the Redhawks narrowly escaped the Cubs in the semifinals. Hill factored prominently in that one as well, having produced a game-tying double with two outs in the ninth. That set the stage for Adam Bies’ two-run homer in the 10th, which propelled the Hawks to a 7-5 win. Smith struck out 11 in that game before Weber earned the win with a dominant relief outing.
A title of any sort appeared unlikely considering the way the Redhawks began the season. Although they were decent in Las Vegas over Memorial Day, they started 5-5 overall. They endured injuries to team leaders Cowan (facial fractures) and Gillem (foul ball off throwing hand) and never really caught a sustained groove until July. But if anything, the season had character and tested the Redhawks’ resolve.
Then they got hot at the right time.
“It means the world, but it means even more to do it with these guys,” Cowan said. “It was a really tough year with injuries, but we persevered and played for each other. There’s a lot to say about playing as a team and I’m proud to be a teammate of everyone on the Redhawks.”
Notes: The Redhawks will dive directly into Fall League play on Sunday against the Warriors (2:30 p.m., Brent Mayne Field). The Hawks will aim to repeat the feat of 2013, when they captured summer and fall championships. The Hawks also won fall last season. . . . Redhawks right-hander Jeff Spira (12-3 in two seasons with the team) was available but didn’t pitch due to Smith’s lengthy outing. Spira remains prominently in the Redhawks plans, but the team went with the hot arm for the postseason. . . . Pat Davis served as the Redhawks’ primary catcher down the stretch, embracing the role when Gillem was sidelined. . . . Teammates indicated that Willis, who has been with Redhawks since 2002, might have been a little misty-eyed during the celebration. That assertion hasn’t been confirmed, however. . . . Center fielder Kyle Jark took partial credit for the Redhawks’ rally because he was coaching third at the time. “Sixty percent of the time it works every time,” Jark said of his base-coaching success. . . . Lost in the madness is that Weber has put together a nine-game hitting streak with six multi-hit efforts. His .395 average leads the team, and with his pitching numbers factored in (4-1, 2.89 ERA), he is making a case for team MVP. Added Weber of the win: “Whether it’s the teammates I’ve befriended over the past few years or guys I’ve been playing with since I was a kid, I’m proud of this group and this is easily my favorite team to have ever played on.”
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 000 000 200 – 2 6 2
Browns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 000 000 000 – 0 5 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith p 2-0-0-0, Jark cf 4-0-0-0, Cowan 1b 4-0-1-0, Bies dh 3-0-1-0, Johnson 3b 3-0-0-0, Davis c 3-0-0-0, Gillem rf 3-1-0-0, Weber ss-2b-p 4-1-2-0, Willis dh 3-0-1-0, Qiu ss 0-0-0-0, Hill lf 3-0-1-2, Makovsky 0-0-0-0. Totals 32-2-6-2.
Browns hitting – Bruns ss 4-0-0-0, Kutler 2b 4-0-2-0, Fobes dh 3-0-0-0, Jerebker 3b 4-0-0-0, Huggins dh-1b 3-0-0-0, Neumann c 3-0-1-0, Gunnell 1b 3-0-1-0, Gray dh 2-0-0-0, Dennis cf 1-0-0-0, Barker rf 2-0-0-0, Marsden lf 3-0-1-0. Totals 32-0-5-0.
Redhawks pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith (W 5-0) 8.1-5-0-0-2-7, Weber (Sv 2) 0.2-0-0-0-0-0.
Browns pitching – Barnes (L 6-2) 7-4-2-2-7-6, Busto 2-2-0-0-1-3.
E – Makovsky. 2B – Kutler (3). SB – Weber 2 (6), Marsden (2).
12 QUESTIONS WITH CASEY HILL
By Kenneth Weber
Regardless of whether you consider it one of the greatest baseball movies of all time, Bull Durham certainly has some memorable lines. Whether it’s wild accusations of lollygagging or hitting the shit out of the bull, the film has – and will continue to – influence generations of baseball fanatics. One quote in particular seems to stand out:
“Your shower shoes have fungus on them,” Crash Davis said. “You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob."
Shouldering an environmentally friendly baseball/obnoxious organic-market tote bag, a pair of little league imitation stirrups and greased into a pair of pants so tight it would make Billy Lyons blush, less than a year ago Casey Hill strutted on to the diamond for the first time in a decade.
“He looked like absolute hell. I'm surprised we didn't cut him after the game,”second baseman Sam Makovsky reminisced.
Hill has refused to subdue the trademark charisma as he and his trademark ECObag have totaled the third-most knocks to date this season while providing dazzling defense in the outfield for the 'Hawks (6-1).
For better or worse, Hill has been exposed to the dirty dozen in an attempt to break the enigma once and for all.
1. It’s been a few years since you last played organized baseball. Can you tell us how long it’s been and what finally made you get back in to the game?
Hill: I haven't played organized baseball since my senior year of high school. So, it's been about 10 years. The only thing that was preventing me from playing was my work schedule. I finally got myself a real job with actual weekends and here I am.
2. How would you grade the level of competition you’ve faced so far? How has it differed from your expectations?
Hill: I was nervous coming back to baseball after so many years, but I don’t feel like the competition has overwhelmed me, thankfully. I expected the pitchers to all throw in the 90s consistently and totally overpower me as a hitter. I’m happy to report that has not been the case. The defense is a lot better than I've ever faced, especially the outfielders and catchers.
3. We’ve seen you shine in the outfield, but you’ve yet to grace us with the presence elsewhere. Where else on the field do you think you could hold your own and provide the same spark for the team?
Hill: You know that doofus that runs the jackets out from the bullpen? Yeah, I could do that.
4. “Reek and Ramsey” has been thrown around to describe the relationship you have with your longtime friend and teammate Sam Makovsky. Do you feel it is as tyrannical as that analogy suggests?
Hill: Well, the joke’s on you! I have never seen Game of Thrones and the nicknames mean absolutely nothing to me. To better answer your question, I’d compare me and Sam’s relationship to Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. We started out in a similar fashion. Only, I'm still relevant. Burn.
5. Give us an ETA of your first home run in a Redhawks uniform.
Hill: You know, I’ve always dreamed of hitting a walk-off home run. So, it will probably happen at a totally meaningless time and against a terrible team. No one will say anything and I’ll die a little inside.
6. The Redhawks have had an unusual wealth of arms on the mound this season. Of all your teammates who have yet to toe the rubber, who do you think would have the most success and what would be his most dominant pitch?
Hill: I’ve watched Tommy toss the ball around the infield and he has some pretty good zip on it. I think he could fare pretty well on the mound if he could locate his pitches. I’d guess his best pitch would be a neck-high beanball. He’d probably laugh about it, too.
7. Although not well known, you’ve expressed a taste for the horror movie genre off the field. What movie, aside from the Human Centipede, has been most compelling to you and why? Feel free to be as graphical as necessary in your response.
Hill: I was introduced to the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a wee child. I watched it with my dad when I was about 12 or so. That movie has always stuck with me because of how the violence is shown. They added no background music at all. It’s just some maniac running around with a chainsaw, in dead silence, and murdering people. It’s quite disturbing and haunting.
On a side note: Sam totally brought a girl on a first date to see The Last House On The Left. There’s practically the worst rape scene ever in that movie and Sam started to sweat so bad she had to blow his hands dry. I guarantee that’s the only thing she blew.
8. Which pro player, active or retired, best reflects your skills on the field?
Hill: The answer is clearly a mixture of Bengie Molina, Quinton McCracken and Juan Pierre. I have Molina's speed, McCracken's power and Pierre’s arm. I’m like, the full package.
9. You've created an admirable career for yourself in the nonprofit industry working at establishments such as the Botanic Gardens and the Denver Zoo. Of your teammates, who is most likely to be the following animal or plant? Silver Back Gorilla, Peacock, Corpse Flower and Wandering Jew?
Hill: I’m going to call Chuck the gorilla. Mostly because I recently saw the video of that child fall into the gorilla exhibit in Cincinnati. That same behavior exhibited by the gorilla can be seen in Chuck whenever an umpire makes a bad call. Additionally, I shared the same fear as that child when Chuck was ejected from that Bears game.
Pat has to be the peacock. Mostly because those things don’t look like they can fly at all. Yet, somehow, they get their fat little bodies into the air. Similarly, Pat is fat. . . . If that was mean, I’m sorry – sorry for all those sausages Pat slaughters every night. Pat, I’m so sorry.
A few fun facts about the Corpse Flower: It is one of the tallest flowers in the world and can grow up to 10 feet tall. It smells like a dead mammal corpse to attract pollinators. The first Corpse Flower to bloom in the rocky mountain region happened last year at Denver Botanic Gardens. Jeff is kind of like the Corpse Flower. He’s tall, new to the team and he might smell like garbage. I don’t know, I haven’t been close enough to find out. Again, I’m sorry.
The Wandering Jew plant got its name because it can grow anywhere and eventually gets everywhere. Kind of like Billy’s handlebar mustache. Does that thing even end? Or does it just attach to his chest hair?
There you have it, four enemies. I have made four enemies.
10. When the time finally comes, what do you choose for your walkup song?
Hill: Smash Mouth - All Star. Next question.
11. The presidential election is coming up and you’re surely chomping at the bit to cast your vote. Who’s your choice for the next leader of the free world?
Hill: Dutch from Predator. Not to be mistaken with the actor who played him, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m literally talking about the fictional character. He out-muscled the biggest alien Earth has ever seen. He is the GD leader we deserve.
12. Which is least likely to happen? The Rockies win the World Series; we discover extraterrestrial life or you get married?
Hill: I'll list these in the order of most likelihood.
2: Rockies win the World Series
|Game 6 vs. Royals|