- Redhawks walk-off Sox 7-6; fall to A's 12-1 to end 27-game Fall League streak
- Up next: Fall quarterfinals vs. Demadogs (2 p.m., Long Lake Ranch)
- 2019 HR: Bies (4), Weber (2), Johnson (2), Jark (1), Luersen (1), Davis (1), Gillem (1)
- Redhawks 2019 record: 21-11 overall
- 2019 pitching records: Weber 7-2, Willis 6-1, Smith 4-2, Makovsky 2-1, Jark 1-3, Rodriquez 0-2
HAWKS SPLIT: 27-GAME FALL STREAK ENDS
Hawks walk-off Sox; shorthanded magic finally runs out vs. A's
ARVADA – Oct. 13 – Well, at least the Broncos were scheduled for Thursday this week. That prospect alone greatly increases the chances the Redhawks won’t have to scramble to field a team for Fall League play, as they have the past several weeks.
The Redhawks had mostly gotten away with their lukewarm attendance, although the days of outscoring fall foes 68-5 (as they did two years back) were well gone. Using lineups of about seven regulars and a few fill-ins, the Hawks had been nipping teams that they’d normally have an easier time with.
That trend continued Sunday—for one game, anyhow—before the Hawks saw their 27-game fall winning streak evaporate in grand fashion. After edging the Sox 7-6, they lost to a solid A’s squad 12-1 under the lights at Long Lake Ranch. It was their first fall setback since the 2015 fall finale.
Here’s a look at each game:
Paul Willis failed to get a win with his arm. So he did it with his bat, instead. After surrendering the go-ahead homer in the sixth, Willis capped a seventh-inning rally with a sacrifice fly to deep center that scored Chuck Gillem.
Kenneth Weber scorched three doubles in a 4-for-4 performance and drove in three runs while Adam Bies added three singles and an RBI for the Hawks (21-11).
Willis matched a season-high with nine strikeouts, but surrendered a three-run homer in the sixth that gave the Sox a 5-4 lead. Weber tied it in the bottom of the inning with an RBI double.
Reliever Kyle Jark surrendered a run in the top of the seventh, which left the Hawks trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the inning. But catcher Pat Davis tied it with an RBI single to score Derek Johnson and Willis followed with the walk-off sac fly.
Fill-in outfielders Colton Davis and Ted Barlow added two hits apiece for the Hawks. Jark, who has recorded three saves this season, earned his first win.
Well, the fall winning streak didn’t end in heartbreaking fashion. It crashed through the floor.
The Hawks managed only Chuck Gillem’s single in this five-inning massacre against a squad that utilizes players from several regular-season squads, including the Triple-A Bombers and Night Train. The Hawks had only six players from their regular-season roster available for this one.
After relieving the opener, Jark started on the mound and endured a rough first inning. He didn’t receive the Redhawks’ trademark defensive support in a three-inning outing. The slugging A’s rallied against reliever Bies, as well, and took care of things in five innings.
On the bright side, at first count the Redhawks had nine regulars available for this weekend with the local NFL squad off on Sunday.
Notes: Despite the loss, the Redhawks went 4-1 through fall bracket play and earned the top seed in the National Division. They’ll take on the Demadogs in the fall quarterfinals (2 p.m., Sunday), a squad that finished as the No. 4 seed in the American Division. . . . If the Redhawks advance, they’ll play in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. on Oct. 27. The fall title game is Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m.
HAWKS SHAKE UP LINEUP, EDGE SCORPIONS
Hill drives in three, rips two doubles as Hawks improve to 3-0 in fall
ARVADA – Oct. 6 – The Redhawks were shorthanded, playing their 30th game of the year, and hey, it was fall. That could only mean one thing – it was time to shake up the order for one day.
It worked, too, as the temporarily revamped lineup produced a 7-5 win against the Scorpions on Sunday at Long Lake Ranch. The hitters—particularly the top five—deftly performed to their roles as the Hawks reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth straight season.
Typical leadoff man Casey Hill was a savage in the RBI-friendly fifth spot. The outfielder ripped two doubles among three hits and drove in three. Normal Nos. 4 and 5 hitters Adam Bies and Kyle Jark vaulted to Nos. 1 and 2 and each set the table by getting on base three times.
Patrick Davis broke out of a rare hitless streak by delivering an RBI single from the three-hole, and cleanup man Danny Qiu exhibited some extra-base propensity with a key double.
This is a contest the Redhawks (20-10) normally would have run away with had their regular roster been present, but a few fall fill-ins – including Davis’ brother Colton, who added an RBI single – helped them earn their 26th straight fall win.
Jark earned his second consecutive multi-inning save by throwing three scoreless after entering with the Hawks up 7-5. Starter Paul Willis threw a mere 54 pitches and went the minimum four innings needed for a win in a seven-inning contest.
The Redhawks also received a stellar defensive performance from Justin Baum, who shifted from first base to catcher to start the third inning. Stomach issues forced Pat Davis to take a less cumbersome role at first base.
Baum threw out a runner trying to steal in the bottom of the seventh for a key second out. The Scorpions had the tying runs on first and second in the inning, but Jark induced a comebacker to end it.
Notes: The Redhawks will play two this weekend – the scheduled contest vs. the Sox (3:15 Long Lake Ranch lower field) with a makeup against the Athletics immediately to follow. The game was initially postponed because it was scheduled the same day as the summer championship game. . . . Davis’ RBI was his 31st, giving him a one-RBI edge over Derek Johnson for the Hawks’ lead. Johnson was among the absentees Sunday. . . . Pitcher Kenneth Weber missed the game while joining the Browns in Arizona. Weber earned an eight-inning win in pool play. . . . Despite being the Redhawks clear No. 3 starter, Willis has gone 15-2 over the past two seasons.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . 320 020 0 – 7 11 1
Scorpions . . . . . . . . . . . . .003 200 0 – 5 8 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Bies 3b 3-1-2-0, Jark cf-1b-p 3-1-2-1, P. Davis c-1b 4-1-1-1, Qiu ss 4-1-1-0, Hill lf-cf 4-1-3-3, Willis p-rf 4-0-0-0, Baum 1b-c 3-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 2-1-1-1, Ivy rf-lf 3-0-0-0, Barlow rf-lf 0-0-0-0, C. Davis rf-lf 3-1-1-1. Totlas 33-7-11-7.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis (W 6-1) 4-7-5-3-0-2, Jark (Sv 3) 3-1-0-0-1-2.
E – Ivy. 2B – Hill 2 (7), Bies (8), Qiu (3). SB – Hill (5).
HAWKS PUSH FALL STREAK TO 25 WITH SWEEP
Johnson and Gillem combine for nine hits in twin bill
ENGLEWOOD – Sept. 29 – There isn’t a single stat in fall ball that the Redhawks wouldn’t trade for a summer title the past two years. But 25 straight wins is a somewhat impressive feat, nonetheless.
The Hawks pushed their streak to 25 on Sunday at Englewood, as they opened fall with a 15-5 win against the Hops and a 6-4 victory against the Wise Guys. The squad—or what they had of it with nine guys in attendance—was still a bit somber from the previous week’s narrow loss in the Triple-A championship.
But fall offers an opportunity to push forward and work toward another title – albeit a lesser one. The Hawks (19-10) have been successful in that regard, as they’ve won fall three straight seasons and haven’t lost since the 2015 final.
Derek Johnson started the fall in blistering fashion with a 5-for-7, three-RBI performance in the twin bill. Chuck Gillem (4-for-5) homered in the opener while Sam Makovsky and Paul Willis earned wins with remarkably similar pitching lines. Kyle Jark walked the tightrope for a lockdown save against the Wise Guys.
Here’s a quick peak at each game:
Seven Redhawks accumulated extra-base hits and the squad pounded 17 overall in a rematch of the Triple-A quarterfinals. Gillem drove in four while Johnson, Kenneth Weber and Adam Bies knocked in two apiece.
The Hawks built a 7-0 early lead, and Makovsky (2-1) recovered from a mammoth three-run homer to pitch a solid five. He added a pair of hits and two runs scored. Makovsky, who hadn’t struck out a batter in 6 1/3 innings this season, whiffed four in this one.
Against a squad much more solid than the typical fall opponent, the Redhawks built an early lead behind three RBIs from Weber. The slugger doubled in one in the first and added a two-run single in the second.
Willis (5-1) cruised early, but departed in the sixth up 5-4 with runners on second and third and no outs. But Jark came in and sandwiched two strikeouts around a popup to preserve the lead. After Casey Hill manufactured a run in the top of the seventh, Jark locked it down in the bottom of the inning to earn the save.
Notes: The Redhawks get back to action Sunday against the Scorpions (3:15, Long Lake Ranch). … Weber is in Arizona this week, helping out the Browns in the NABA World Series. . . . The Redhawks will be without Johnson and Gillem, as well.
BROWNS EDGE REDHAWKS IN TITLE-GAME THRILLER
Hawks can't hold onto early lead in Cowan's last game as full-time player
GOLDEN – Sept. 22 – When Derek Johnson belted a grand slam in the third inning of Sunday’s championship game, it appeared the Redhawks were poised to corral their second elite-division NABA title if they could just keep adding on.
But they never scored again, and the Denver Browns methodically battled back. The perennial champs forged a tie entering the ninth and outlasted the Redhawks 7-5 on a pristine final day of summer on the Golden diamond.
“It (expletive) sucks,” catcher Pat Davis said. “It just really, really sucks.”
The contest marked the fourth time in the past five seasons the teams have met in the title game. The Redhawks failed in their bid to even the score, having only one-upped the Browns in the 2017 final. Adding to the emotional day was that the contest marked the final game for first baseman Tommy Cowan—at least in a fulltime capacity. The squad’s emotional leader first joined the Hawks in 2011 and has been a staple in the lineup ever since.
The Browns were down to their final strike in the top of the ninth inning when catcher Dan Neumann lined reliever Kenneth Weber’s 2-2 offering into left-center for a go-ahead RBI single. Connor Messinger added another to give the Browns a 7-5 lead entering the bottom of the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Chris Luersen singled and Casey Hill drew a one-out walk to give the Redhawks two baserunners against mostly untouchable Browns reliever James Heuser. But the skyscraping lefty struck out Weber and got Johnson to pop up to end it.
“I knew it was a slider but I couldn’t get the barrel on it,” Johnson said.
That wasn’t the case in the third, when Johnson’s grand slam to right-center gave the Hawks a 5-1 lead. They had tied it 1-1 an inning earlier on Adam Bies’ solo shot to center. But that was about it for the hitting attack.
Starting pitcher Dylan Smith cruised into the sixth with the 5-1 lead, but the Browns plated three in the inning. They tied it 5-5 in the seventh after Weber (7-2) spelled Smith and Chris Dennis registered an RBI single. Weber, the Redhawks’ bulldog of a starter/reliever who had beaten the Browns 8-1 earlier in the season, held it down until two outs in the ninth.
Bies and Luersen had two hits apiece for the Redhawks (17-10), who managed eight overall. Heuser struck out eight over four scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.
Notes: The crowd was one of the best in Redhawks annals on a picture-perfect day at Golden. … Cowan talked to almost every teammate on an individual basis after the game, informing them of his decision while expressing appreciation for sharing the field with them. … The Redhawks won’t have much time to mourn the loss, as they start fall season with a doubleheader on Sunday at Englewood (9 a.m. vs. Hops; 2 p.m. vs. Wise Guys).
Browns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 003 102 – 7 15 1
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . 014 000 000 – 5 8 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 4-1-1-0, Weber ss-p 4-1-0-0, Johnson eb 4-1-1-4, Bies dh-1b 4-1-2-1, Jark cf 3-0-1-0, Davis c 4-0-0-0, Smith p-rf 4-0-1-0, Cowan 1b 3-0-0-0, Luersen 2b 4-1-2-0, Qiu rf 1-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 0-0-0-0. Totlas 35-5-8-5.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith 6-10-5-4-3-4, Weber (L 7-2) 3-5-2-2-2-1.
E – Cowan, Qiu. 2B – Smith (4). HR – Bies (4), Johnson (2).
WEBER KEYS WIN FOR CHAMPIONSHIP-BOUND HAWKS
Veteran pitches, hits Hawks past Cubs in Triple-A semis
ENGLEWOOD – Sept. 15 – Less than two months ago, the Redhawks were looking like a .500 team. Fast-forward to mid-September and they are back in a familiar place – the summer championship game.
The Hawks defeated the Colorado Cubs 14-8 in the Triple-A semifinals Sunday at Englewood, completing a game that started last week at Long Lake Ranch before rain and lighting caused a postponement in the bottom of the first.
The No. 3 Redhawks (17-9), who got a monster performance on the mound and at the plate from Kenneth Weber, will take on the Denver Browns yet again in the championship game (2 p.m., Sunday, Golden).
Each team had something of a pedestrian regular season and many believed a change was occurring atop the Triple-A landscape, but alas they’ll meet in the championship game for the third straight season and fourth time in five years.
Weber pitched six strong innings, blanking the Cubs after a four-run first inning that spanned two weeks. He also homered, tripled and doubled, accumulating three RBIs in the process. His homer occurred in the pre-suspended portion of the contest.
The Redhawks led 5-2 in the bottom of the first when play resumed, then committed an embarrassing three errors on the first batter after play resumed (dropped popup, two overthrows), allowing the Cubs to pull within 5-4.
But Weber locked in and the Cubs had ace J.D. Heredia back (he was unavailable last week after pitching in the quarterfinals). Order was restored quickly as the aces repeatedly put up zeroes. Then the Redhawks finally broke it open.
Weber tripled and scored on Derek Johnson’s single to make it 6-4 in the sixth. Then the Hawks put together a five-run rally in the seventh to essentially seal it. Bies and Weber each ripped two-run doubles in the inning.
Dylan Smith earned the save by virtue of pitching the final three innings. He gave up a two-run homer to Jorge Lovatos in the seventh but then settled in. Smith added a two-run double in the eighth that pushed the margin to 14-6.
The Hawks registered 17 hits overall, including three by Johnson and two apiece by Patrick Davis, Danny Qiu and Chris Luersen.
As such, the Redhawks reached the summer championship game for the 10th time since forming in 2002 and are seeking their fifth win (second in Triple-A). Since joining Triple-A in 2014, they’ve advanced at least as far as the semifinals each season.
The Browns hold a 2-1 record against the Hawks in championship games and won the regular-season series by the same margin. But it’s worth noting that in the Redhawks’ 2017 championship season, they beat Cubs in the semifinals to get there. Sunday’s win wasn’t as dramatic as the 7-5, extra-inning win in ’17 that came courtesy of Adam Bies’ gargantuan homer, but it propelled the Hawks to another title game nonetheless.
Notes: Weber’s triple was his fifth of the season, breaking Jared Ming’s team single-season mark of four in 2010. . . . Bies and Tommy Cowan were out of town last week but were able to return and enter the lineup for this one, helping offset the return of Heredia. . . . The Redhawks committed a season-high six errors, a total boosted by the three-error play in the first.
Cubs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .400 000 202 – 8 11 2
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 001 530 – 14 18 6
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill rf 5-1-1-0, Weber p 5-2-3-3, Johnson 3b 4-1-3-1, Gillem c-lf 4-1-1-0, Jark cf 4-1-1-1, Davis dh 4-2-2-1, Qiu ss 4-2-2-1, Luersen 2b 4-1-2-2, Smith lf-p 3-1-2-2, Bies 3b-lf 4-1-1-2, Cowan 1b 3-1-0-0. Totals 44-14-17-13.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Weber (W 7-1) 6-6-4-2-2-5, Smith (Sv 1) 3-5-4-2-1-4.
E – Qiu 3, Luersen, Hill, Bies. 2B – Weber (10), Bies (7), Smith (3). 3B – Weber (5), HR – Weber (2). SB – Johnson (6), Jark (6).
REDHAWKS SURVIVE HOPS IN QUARTERS; CUBS NEXT
Poor sight lines partly responsible for 42-hit game
ARVADA – Sept. 8 – A 17-16 playoff game sounds like an instant classic. This one was anything but.
The Redhawks were just happy to survive to Triple-A quarterfinal matchup with the Hops on Sunday and remain alive in the postseason. They’ll resume things with the Cubs on Sunday (2 p.m., Englewood) after their semifinals matchup was halted by lightning and rain moments after the bizarre Hops win.
“I don’t think anyone is happy about the way we won that one,” Redhawks skipper Kenneth Weber said.
The Redhawks (16-9) avoided what easily could have qualified as the toughest loss in team annals by scoring two in the ninth after trailing 16-15. They had given up seven in the top of the inning. Kyle Jark scored on a wild pitch to tie it, then Casey Hill’s high chopper to second base gave Danny Qiu just enough time to narrowly beat the throw home with the winner.
It was more relief than jubilation though. That’s because the high scoring totals weren’t a realistic representation of what was happening. Playing on Long Lake Ranch’s upper field for the first time, a haze behind the plate prevented outfielders from seeing the ball for the first six or seven innings. This wasn’t a temporary loss of sight. Outfielders were regularly running the opposite direction of the ball trying to find it.
The Redhawks, who got monster performances from Kyle Jark and Derek Johnson (each 3-for-4 with four RBIs), took an early 8-1 lead. They scored 12 runs in the first two innings. Pitcher Paul Willis was grooving and struck out nine through five innings – but six routine popups went unseen by the outfielders, which paved the way for a few Hops rallies.
Still, the Redhawks seemed to cement things when Weber’s two-run triple made it 15-9 entering the bottom of the ninth. Reliever Kyle Jark, who had relatively breezed through three innings, encountered some difficulties in the ninth and Weber relieved. The Hawks’ bulldog closer was one strike away from sealing it before a two-run triple gave the Hops their first lead at 16-15.
Hill finished 4-for-6 with four runs scored and Qiu went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Each player stole a base, as well. It was the first game in Redhawks history in which each team had 20 hits (each had 21).
The Redhawks-Cubs game will resume with the Hawks up 5-2 in the first. The Cubs have runners on first and second with one out. Weber’s homer highlighted a five-run first for the Hawks.
Notes: The winner of the Redhawks-Cubs game will take on the Browns-Night Train winner in the championship game, which has been moved to Sept. 22. . . . The Redhawks were scheduled for Fall League games on each of the next two Sundays, but those will be moved as long as the Hawks remain alive in the postseason. . . . Adam Bies and Tommy Cowan, who missed the quarterfinals, will be back for this one. . . . Because outfielders were not to blame for the unseen fly balls, all 16 runs allowed by the Redhawks were earned. It caused their season ERA to escalate to a Rockies-like 5.09. . . . Weber equaled a team mark with his fourth triple of the season.
Hops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 030 017 – 16 21 0
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . 444 000 032 – 17 21 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill rf-lf 6-4-4-1, Weber ss-p 3-4-2-2, Johnson 3b 4-2-3-4, Gillem c-lf 6-0-1-0, Jark cf-p 4-3-3-4, Davis 1b-c 4-1-2-3, Qiu ss 5-1-3-2, Maksovsky 1b 3-0-0-0, Luersen 2b 3-0-1-0, Smith lf-rf 4-2-2-0, Baum 1b 0-0-0-0. Totals 42-17-21-16.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis 5-12-8-8-0-9, Jark 3.1-6-5-5-2-3, Weber (W 6-1) 0.2-3-3-3-1-2.
E – None. 2B – Jark (8), Johnson (2), Smith (2). 3B – Weber (4), Jark (2), Davis (1). SB – Qiu (4), Hill (3). SF – Johnson.
DAVIS GOES YARD, HAWKS EARN NO. 3 SEED
Veteran catcher finally homers as Hawks sweep Afterburners
AURORA – Aug. 25. – His virtuoso-like stroke has earned him many nicknames. Patty Rake. Pat the Bat. Man’s Game. A few others. But notice there are no power references in those monikers.
That’s because Redhawks catcher Pat Davis didn’t homer in his first seven years with the team despite racking up well over 200 hits. Usually if someone doesn’t hit a round-tripper in their first 100 ABs or so, it’s simply not going to happen.
Well, Davis shot that theory to hell Sunday when he demolished his long-awaited first Hawks homer in an ultra-critical 12-5 win against the Afterburners. The win in the regular-season finale allowed the Redhawks to sweep the three-game season series from the Afterburners and earn a No. 3 seed for the Triple-A postseason.
But more improbable than the Hawks’ late-season return to form was Davis’ sixth-inning blast in his 709th career at-bat with the squad. The Redhawks were clinging to a 6-5 lead at the time before the left-handed hitter jacked a two-run homer to right. Many guessed that if Davis ever got one, it’d be at a small park. But this occurred at Vista Peak, which features major-league-like 331-foot distances down the lines. And it was a no-doubter off the bat.
Davis, who added a two-run double and an RBI groundout to finish with five RBIs, initially balked at keeping the ball after a teammate retrieved it.
“I’m not in Little League,” he said before ultimately tossing the ball into his bag.
Pitcher Paul Willis, meanwhile, was brought on in emergency relief of ailing starter Kenneth Weber (shoulder) and held the Afterburners to one hit over 6 1/3 innings. Willis entered with the score tied 5-5 in the third after the Afterburners had clawed back from a 5-0 early deficit.
Willis (4-1) retired 19 of the 21 batters he faced, one reaching on an error, another on a leadoff double to start the ninth. The veteran righty struck out five and benefitted from a few standout plays in the field. That included a sliding catch by right fielder Adam Bies and a scintillating play at third from Tommy Cowan.
Chuck Gillem added two triples for the Hawks, harking memories of Bies’ three-triple game at Englewood last fall. The Hawks (15-9, 12-7) also received two hits apiece from Cowan and Kyle Jark.
The win enabled the Hawks to avoid a first-round matchup against the Browns, which would have been a rematch of the previous two title games. Instead, they’ll face the No. 6 Hops (12 p.m., Sept. 8, Long Lake Ranch), with the winner advancing to take on the Cubs-Thunder winner later that day.
Notes: With his next hit, Davis will become the third Redhawks player to record 250 in his career. . . . Willis has pitched 12 scoreless innings over three appearances against the Afterburners this season. . . . The right-field line was kind to the Redhawks in this one, as Davis, Weber, Jark and Sam Makovsky all doubled down the line. Cowan had a ground ball to first that hit the bag and ricocheted for a hit.
Afterburners . . . . . . . . . . . . . .005 000 000 – 5 6 2
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .411 006 00X – 12 14 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 3-1-0-0, Weber p 4-1-1-2, Johnson 3b-1b 3-0-0-0, Bies rf 3-2-1-0, Jark cf 4-2-2-1, Davis dh-c 4-2-2-5, Gillem c 4-0-2-1, Cowan 1b-3b 4-2-2-0, Qiu ss 1-1-1-0, Baum dh 1-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 4-1-1-1, Willis p 1-0-0-0. Totals 36-12-12-10.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Weber 2.2-5-5-5-2-3, Willis (W 4-1) 6.1-1-0-0-0-5..
E – Makovsky, Qiu. 2B – Weber (9), Jark (7), Davis (5). 3B – Gillem 2 (2). HR – Davis (1). HBP – Weber, Bies, Qiu.
REDHAWKS BEAT 'BURNERS, IMPROVE SEEDING CHANCES
Johnson and Bies go yard, Smith solid on the hill as Hawks prevail
LITTLETON – Aug. 18 – Adam Bies’ homers range from routine shots that leave the yard to absurd blasts seldom seen in NABA. Whichever the case, the Redhawks slugger usually modestly points out that he didn’t necessarily get all of it.
That’s what made Sunday’s punctuating blast in a key 9-5 win against the Afterburners a bit unique.
“Yeah, I fuckin’ crushed it,” Bies said, only stepping outside of his humble demeanor to answer a teammate’s question about how well he had squared it up.
The Redhawks (14-9, 11-7) were already seemingly on their way to the much-needed victory on the Littleton diamond, but Bies’ solo blast in the top of the ninth provided an insurance run and created a solid bookend to third baseman Derek Johnson’s two-run homer in the top of the first.
While the season has been a bit uneven for the Redhawks, it has been that way for everyone in Triple-A. No team has fewer than six league losses, and the Redhawks have put themselves in position for a second-place finish if they can get past the Afterburners one more time in Sunday’s regular-season finale.
A win would make the Redhawks a half-game better than whichever team loses the Cubs-Night Train matchup on Sunday (the half-game because the Redhawks will have played one fewer game due to the league’s decision not to make up the Hawks’ rainout with the Bombers). A loss would drop the Hawks to No. 4 or 5 and probably mean a first-round matchup with the Browns.
“We’ve got to get that dub,” Redhawks center fielder Kyle Jark said.
While Bies and Johnson provided the offensive fireworks, Casey Hill, Kenneth Weber and Patrick Davis also contributed with three hits apiece. Two of Davis’s were of the non-garbage variety, including an RBI single in the fourth.
Starter Dylan Smith (4-2), meanwhile, cruised through seven before surrendering a three-run homer after an error that cut it to 8-5 in the eighth. Smith’s solid performance wouldn’t go without a W, though, as reliever Paul Willis closed it out with two innings of scoreless relief.
The Hawks’ infield contributed with double plays in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, including a key 5-4-3 turn (Johnson-to-Sam Makovsky-to-Tommy Cowan) in the eighth.
The Redhawks clinched the season series with the Afterburners (11-7), but will have to beat them one more time to be where they want to be for the postseason.
Notes: As noted throughout the season, the quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on the same day on Sept. 8 with the championship game slated for Sept. 15. . . . Cowan recorded two sacrifice flies in the contest. . . . Smith has won his last three starts. . . . Photo credit: Afterburners.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200 120 031 – 9 14 3
Afterburners . . . . . . . . . . . . . .001 001 030 – 5 12 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 5-2-3-0, Weber ss 5-0-3-0, Johnson 3b 4-2-1-2, Bies rf 5-1-2-2, Jark cf 5-0-1-0, Davis c 4-2-3-1, Smith p 5-1-1-0, Cowan 1b 2-0-0-2, Makovsky 2b 2-1-0-0, Willis p 1-0-0-0. Totals 37-9-14-7.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith (W 4-2) 7-10-5-4-1-6, Willis (Sv 1) 2-2-0-0-0-0.
E – Johnson, Makovsky, Weber. 2B – Jark (6). HR – Bies (3), Johnson (1). SB – Jark (5), Weber (4). SF – Cowan 2.
BROWNS END REDHAWKS' THREE-GAME WINNING STREAK
Playoff seeding gets more complicated for Hawks after loss
PARKER – Aug. 11 – In a Triple-A season where no one has taken firm command, the Redhawks might have lost their final chance to do so on Sunday.
Yes, the Hawks will be in the playoffs, but any ambitions of ending the regular season with a top seed were severely diminished in a 7-3 loss to the Browns at Ponderosa. The loss, in which the Redhawks were held scoreless for the final six innings, halted a three-game winning streak.
The fifth-place Redhawks (13-9, 10-7) will now vie for a home seed as they close the season with back-to-back contents against the second-place Afterburners. That prospect might be more challenging now that the league most likely won’t make up the Redhawks-Bombers rainout from July 21. The league claims it is running out of field slots for make-up games and has to first cater from other leagues that have played fewer games.
The shorthanded Redhawks backed themselves into a corner early in this one, falling behind 3-0 despite only one ball – a bloop single – that left the infield. All three runs against starter Kyle Jark were unearned, and the righty allowed only two hits through five innings.
The Redhawks rallied to tie it 3-3 with a two-run single by Chris Luersen in the second and an RBI single by Dylan Smith in the third. But Jordan Bruns hit a go-ahead solo homer against Jark in the sixth and the Browns added three more in the seventh.
The Redhawks figured they’d have 14 in attendance for this one, knowing only third baseman Derek Johnson would be out of town. But as the flood of late defections arrived Saturday, the Hawks had to scramble to get nine. They competed well considering they played with the minimum, but it was of little solace.
“I’m not here for participation ribbons,” catcher Pat Davis said.
With the win, the Browns (11-7) clinched the season series with the Redhawks 2-1 and nudged a half-game past them in the standings. Jark and Sam Makovsky had two hits apiece for the Hawks and Smith pitched three innings of scoreless relief.
Notes: If the Redhawks-Bombers game is not made up, it could potentially cost the Redhawks in postseason seeding. For instance, if the Cubs finish 13-7 and the Redhawks 12-7, the Redhawks would finish behind the Cubs despite winning the season series. Playing a 20th game would give the Hawks an opportunity for another win. . . . The Redhawks played without Johnson, Tommy Cowan, Chuck Gillem, Corey Gaudet and Danny Qiu. . . . Luersen was denied a sure double in the seventh when his hit down the right-field line, which was clearly fair by more than a foot, was ruled foul.
Browns . . . . . . . . . . . . . .300 001 300 – 7 7 1
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . .012 000 000 – 3 8 4
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 5-0-1-0, Weber ss-1b 4-0-0-0, Davis c 4-1-1-0, Bies 3b 3-0-0-0, Jark p-cf 4-1-2-0, Smith cf-p 2-1-1-1, Luersen 1b-ss 4-0-1-2, Willis rf 4-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 4-0-2-0. Totals 34-3-8-3.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Jark (L 0-2) 6-6-7-4-3-2, Smith 3-1-0-0-2-4.
E – Makovsky 2, Willis, Weber. 2B – Jark (5). SB – Jark (4).
WEEKEND PAYBACK: HAWKS WIN TWO
Weber and Smith excel as squad plays crisp baseball in stretch run
LAKEWOOD – Aug. 4 – The Redhawks’ two most bone-crushing, soul-sucking losses of the season were to the Hops and Thunder. Over the weekend, they avenged both.
After absorbing bitter one-run losses in the ninth inning to each squad – setbacks that led to something of a midseason tailspin – the emerging Hawks were all business this time. Behind starting pitchers Kenneth Weber and Dylan Smith, the Hawks outran the Hops 15-4 on Saturday then edged the Thunder 6-3 in a brisk Sunday-morning contest.
More encouragingly for the Hawks is that top slugger Adam Bies is continuing to recapture his groove. He went 5-for-9 with a homer over the weekend, helping the Hawks (13-8, 10-6) get back into striking distance for a high seed in the Triple-A standings.
Here’s a look at each game:
The Hawks trailed 4-3 entering the sixth inning, and a back-and-forth game was looking like something of a struggle. But Bies led off the inning with a tying homer and the Redhawks piled it on late to pull away.
After a handful of defensive miscues threatened to derail Weber’s start, the right-hander rebounded to throw an eight-inning complete game in which he struck out nine and permitted only one earned run. Weber (5-1) also contributed three hits at the plate, matching Bies and Casey Hill for team best.
First baseman Tommy Cowan drove in five runs with a two-run single and bases-clearing double, giving him seven RBIs in a two-game stretch after a difficult start to the season at the plate.
Smith was beastly in this one and made certain the Thunder wouldn’t have a second consecutive walk-off win against the Hawks. The left-hander struck out 11 batters, including the last four to propel the Hawks to their third straight win.
The Hawks trailed 3-1 in the seventh, but Chuck Gillem blasted a tying two-run double to left. He then scored the go-ahead run on the play when the outfield throw went into the dugout. Cowan followed with a double and was driven in by Paul Willis to make it 5-3, and RBI leader Pat Davis added a run-scoring single in the eighth.
Things were scoreless into the sixth – thanks in part to second baseman Sam Makovsky’s inning-ending leaping grab in the fourth – before Smith (3-2) put the Redhawks ahead 1-0 with an RBI single. The Thunder countered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth before the Redhawks rallied.
Notes: The Redhawks take on the Browns on Sunday before closing with back-to-back contests against the Afterburners on Aug. 18 and Aug. 25. If the Hawks rainout against the Bombers is made up, it will likely happen of Aug. 24, as no Triple-A make-up games are scheduled for the next two Saturdays. . . . Davis continues to lead the squad with 32 hits, 19 RBIs and a .457 average. . . . Since losing four of five, Redhawks starters have gone 3-0 and pitched at least eight innings in each. They’ve allowed a total of 10 runs (six earned) in the three games.
BEHIND BIES, REDHAWKS BREEZE
Slugger hits long-awaited first homer, Hawks end swoon
DENVER – July 28 – Over the past several seasons, the Redhawks have had the luxury of avoiding a full-blown slump. Sure, they experienced a handful of challenging stretches, but nothing like their recent swoon.
The recent skid seemed more out of place than someone wearing a MAGA hat at a pride rally, but things seemed to shift Sunday. The Redhawks were back to looking like, well, the Redhawks in a much-needed 11-3 win against the Green Elephants at Denver East.
In sights more typical than the Hawks’ recent 1-4 implosion, Adam Bies was leaving the yard (finally), the lineup was raking and pitcher Paul Willis was recording quick outs in a potentially season-shifting win. Sure, it was against the youthful Greens who have struggled this season, but it was the type of thorough, team-centric win that can extract a squad from the abyss.
“Looked more like us, for sure,” shortstop Danny Qiu said.
Bies and Tommy Cowan led the offensive attack with two hits and two RBIs apiece. Bies, the Hawks’ overwhelming home run leader over the past two seasons, clubbed his long-awaited first of the season. He destroyed a no-doubt liner over left field in the sixth to give the Hawks a 4-1 lead. That was after staking the squad to a 1-0 lead with an opposite-field RBI double in the first.
Kenneth Weber, Patrick Davis and Samuel Makovsky added two hits apiece for the Hawks (11-8, 8-6), who registered 14 overall. They led 3-1 entering the bottom of the sixth but poured it on late.
Willis (3-1) threw eight innings (3r, 2er, 3k) and never allowed more than one run in an inning. Dylan Smith struck out the side in the ninth to finish up, allowing only a two-out hit.
The Redhawks‘ record is still too close to .500 than they’d prefer, but they have a chance to make more headway this weekend with games on Saturday and Sunday. Weber is scheduled to start Saturday against the Hops and Smith on Sunday against the Thunder.
Notes: Davis leads the squad in hits (29), average (.460) and RBIs (17). . . . Davis and Jark appeared in the All-Star Game on Saturday, with Jark accruing two hits, a run scored and an RBI in a 7-2 win. “Pat didn’t do shit,” Jark deadpanned. . . . Weber’s double in the first inning was his team-leading 11th extra-base hit of the season. He also narrowly missed a grand slam in the eighth on a foul-ball call that could have gone either way. . . . The game featured eight hit-by-pitches, although things never became testy, as many occurred on off-speed pitches. The Redhawks were plunked by five.
Greens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 001 000 110 – 3 9 1
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . .101 103 23X – 11 14 1
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill rf 4-0-1-2, Weber ss-3b 4-1-2-0, Johnson 3b 3-0-1-2, Bies dh-lf 4-1-2-2, Jark cf 2-2-1-0, Davis c 3-2-2-1, Smith lf-p 3-0-0-0, Cowan 1b 4-0-2-2, Baum dh 2-0-0-0, Qiu ss 1-1-0-0, Luersen 2b 3-2-1-0, Makovsky 2b 3-1-2-1, Willis p 1-1-0-0. Totals 37-11-14-10.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis (W 3-1) 8-8-3-2-1-3, Smith 1-1-0-0-0-3.
E – Willis. 2B – Weber (7), Bies (6), Jark (3), Cowan (2). HR – Bies (1). HBP – Weber, Davis, Smith, Qiu, Willis.
SCUFFLING REDHAWKS DROP DOUBLE-HEADER
Hawks fall from first to fifth in Triple-A standings
LAKEWOOD – Are the Redhawks a first-place squad or decidedly average? In 2019, they’ve been a little of both.
They’ve trended more toward the latter lately, particularly after dropping two games Sunday at Bear Creek. The Hawks first were disheartened by a come-from-ahead 11-10 loss to the Thunder then endured another shellacking at the hands of Night Train, this time 12-4.
The Redhawks’ eight losses are already one more than last season’s 30-7 campaign, and they’ve dropped four of the past five.
“We’re not winning the games we usually win,” Redhawks catcher and leading hitter Patrick Davis said. “Our teams of the past would have beaten the Hops a few weeks ago. We would have won against the Thunder today, and we would have probably won a few others too.”
With the pair of losses, the Redhawks (10-8 overall, 7-6 Triple-A) dropped from first place to a fifth-place tie in the tightly bunched standings. Their league mark hasn't been this poor since their first season in Triple-A of 2014, when they finished 10-9. But Davis doesn’t necessarily believe the Redhawks have regressed.
“Everyone else has gotten better,” he said. “And we’ve stayed the same.”
With Sunday’s loss to the Thunder, the Redhawks have uncharacteristically blown three games in the ninth inning this season. It has been a different theme each time, as three different pitchers endured the fate. But if they won those three games, the Redhawks overall record would be 13-5, more inline with their historical pace.
The silver lining is that no team has taken control of the division in an odd year in which everyone seems to be beating up on one another. Here’s a look at each game from Sunday:
The Redhawks had exactly what they wanted – a three-run lead in the ninth, and a leadoff out. Reliever Kyle Jark had retired seven straight and appeared to be cruising, then disaster happened. The Thunder collected five straight hits, three of them doubles, to stun the Hawks in the opener.
One of the doubles was nearly corralled by left fielder Casey Hill, but it snow-coned out of his glove as he fell to the ground and the tying runs scored. Hill had put the Hawks ahead 9-7 with a bases-clearing double in the top of the eighth, and they pushed the lead to 10-7 on Davis’ RBI double in the ninth.
Hill and newly anointed cleanup hitter Chuck Gillem had two hits apiece for the Hawks. Starter Paul Willis struck out six but permitted seven runs (three earned) in six innings.
After losing 13-3 earlier in the season to Night Train, the Redhawks had designs of evening things up. But even with ace Kenneth Weber on the hill, it didn’t take long for things to resemble the initial matchup.
The Redhawks trailed 4-3 entering the sixth, but Night Train rallied for four in the inning and kept pouring it on. They outhit the Redhawks 20-6, with Hill (2-for-4) the only Redhawks player with multiple knocks.
Bies’ RBI double in the second tied things 1-1, but the Hawks never led in this one.
Notes: The Redhawks will look to get back on track Sunday against the Bombers (9 a.m., Golden). . . . The Hawks played without outfielder Corey Gaudet (newborn) and infielders Danny Qiu (visiting Singapore), Chris Luersen and Edison Rodriquez. . . . Another disconcerting stat for the Hawks is their 25-percent strikeout rate (160 K’s in 641 at-bats). Usually home runs accompany high strikeout totals, but the Hawks have only slugged three in 2019.
REDHAWKS OUTLAST CUBS, WIN SEASON SERIES
Smith sharp through seven to earn the win
PARKER – June 30 – In the convoluted Triple-A standings, one game can make the difference between first and sixth place – or perhaps worse. As such, the Redhawks’ win against the Cubs on Sunday might have been their most crucial of the season from a standings perspective.
The Redhawks themselves were surprised to learn that they entered the Fourth of July break in first place after defeating the Cubs 13-5 at Ponderosa. Each team enters the break 7-4, but the Hawks have taken two of three from the Cubs.
“We needed a win in general,” Redhawks infielder Kenneth Weber said. “But we especially needed one against the Cubs.”
After a brief two-game losing streak entering the contest – including a 3-0 setback against the Cubs two weeks prior – the Hawks (10-6 overall) almost feel like a default first-place team in a strange season. Eight teams have at least five wins, and even the No. 7 Hops are 1 ½ games out first in the updated standings.
Despite the same Dylan Smith vs. JD Heredia pitching matchup, this one was much different than the fast-moving previous battle. Smith shook off a difficult second inning to pitch seven innings and earn the win. The lefty struck out eight and improved to 2-2.
Heredia pitched into the fifth and had a no-decision, as the Redhawks broke open a tight game in the latter innings.
Tied 5-5 in the top of the seventh, a wild throw after a two-out grounder by Derek Johnson allowed Casey Hill and Weber to score the go-ahead runs. Chris Luersen added an RBI single in the eighth to make it 8-5.
The Hawks pulled away with five runs in the ninth, spurred by a two-run single by Kyle Jark and two-run double by Patrick Davis. Jark closed the game by striking out four over two innings of scoreless relief. He earned the save by virtue of entering when the game was 8-5.
“I’m just happy I broke that ridiculous tie with Tommy on the all-time list,” said Jark, referring to Tommy Cowan who very rarely pitches nowadays. Jark’s fourth career save moved him into third place on the team’s all-time register.
Chuck Gillem went 3-for-5 for the Redhawks, while Hill, Weber, Jark, Davis and Corey Gaudet contributed two hits apiece to the 16-hit attack. The Hawks get back to action July 14 with a doubleheader against the Thunder and Night Train.
Notes: After a chippy previous game between the teams, things were sedate in this one. Any antipathy from the teams was directed at the struggling home-plate umpire. . . . Ten different Redhawks registered at least one hit. . . . Davis (25-for-54) has a comfortable lead in the Redhawks’ batting race with a .463 average.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 020 030 215 – 13 16 2
Cubs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .040 010 000 – 5 9 3
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf-cf 3-3-2-0, Weber ss 5-1-2-2, Johnson 3b 4-1-1-1, Bies dh 4-0-1-0, Jark cf-p 4-1-2-2, Davis c 5-2-2-2, Gillem rf-c 5-1-3-0, Gaudet rf-lf-cf 5-1-2-0, Cowan 1b 3-1-0-0, Smith p-cf 2-1-0-0, Luersen 2b 2-0-1-1, Makovsky 2b 2-0-0-0, Willis ph 1-1-1-0. Totals 45-13-16-8.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith (W 2-2) 7-7-5-4-4-8, Jark (Sv 1) 2-2-0-0-1-4.
E – Johnson 2, Weber. 2B – Davis (1) SB – Weber 2 (2). HBP – Davis.
REDHAWKS FALL TO CUBS IN TOP-TIER MATCHUP
Hawks manage only three hits in pitcher's duel
DENVER -- June 23 -- The Cubs and Redhawks have created quite a few memorable matchups over the past few seasons and the most recent was no different, just not for all the right reasons. The Redhawks fell 3-0 in a tightly contested contest against the Cubs on Sunday afternoon at East High School.
The game was a pitcher’s duel throughout, with lefties Dylan Smith and JD Heredia matching each other and putting up zeroes through the first six innings. In the seventh, Smith ran out of gas and gave way to Kenneth Weber. Unfortunately the Cubs put together a two out rally off the Redhawks righty, scoring one runner inherited by Smith’s departure and two more on a key double before Weber was able to nip out the rally.
The three runs would be all the scoring that occurred on the day as the Redhawks bats were held silent throughout, as they managed only three hits and five baserunners on the afternoon. Despite taking the hard-luck loss, Dylan Smith impressed on the day recording two of the three Redhawks hits while also throwing striking out seven and allowing only one run over 6 2/3 innings.
The Redhawks will look to get back on track next week in a rematch against the Hops at Evie Campus.
Notes: This marks the first time the Redhawks have lost two straight regular season games in over two years…..The Redhawks committed no errors on the afternoon, the second game in which they have been flawless in the field so far this season…..Due to a mixture of weddings, vacations and work obligations the Redhawks were down to 10 players on the day…..The Cubs manager had multiple altercations with Redhawks players throughout the day, first taking exception to the Redhawks dugout selection in an expletive-filled tirade before the game started. He also threatened starting pitcher Smith while he was in the dugout and accused Weber of intentionally throwing at Cubs players.
Cubs………………………..000 000 300 -- 3 7 0
Redhawks………………....000 000 000 -- 0 3 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith p 4-0-2-0, Weber ss-p 4-0-1-0, Jark cf 4-0-0-0, Johnson 3b 2-0-0-0, Gillem lf 2-0-0-0, Davis c 2-0-0-0, Gaudet rf 3-0-0-0, Cowan 1b 3-0-0-0, Qiu ss 3-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 1-0-0-0. Totals 28-0-3-0.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith (L 1-2) 6.2-5-1-1-2-7, Weber 2.1-2-2-2-1-4
E – none. CS – Weber. HBP – Davis.
HOPS UPEND REDHAWKS IN THE NINTH
Redhawks manage only six hits in defeat
GREEN VALLEY RANCH – June 9 – The Redhawks were one strike away from getting away with a substandard performance. Twice. Then disaster struck.
Hops pinch hitter Henry Ziebarth cleared the bases with a double down the left-field line to put his team up 10-9 in the ninth, and the Redhawks couldn’t punch back in the bottom of the inning despite getting the tying run to scoring position.
So, after an inspired performance in which they shut out the Browns a week earlier, the Hawks (9-5, 6-3) endured what could be reasonably classified as their worst loss of the season. They managed only six hits and generally struggled throughout at Evie Campus.
The improved Hops (4-4), meanwhile, threw three lefties at the Redhawks and remained in contention throughout. So efficient with the bats the past few weeks, the Redhawks went 6-for-33 and only stayed alive due to drawing seven walks.
Chris Luersen clubbed a three-run homer in the second, his first homer with the squad, and Kyle Jark went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. But the Hawks didn’t muster much else, other than Chuck Gillem’s RBI double and three stolen bases.
Starting pitcher Paul Willis had perhaps his most laborious start of the past few seasons and struggled through five. The Hawks led 8-7 when he departed, and reliever Dylan Smith (1-1) kept the Hops at bay until the Ziebarth’s go-ahead hit. The Redhawks committed a key error in the inning to keep the Hops’ rally alive.
In the ninth, Jark led off with a walk but the Redhawks next three hitters went down in order. They’ll get back to action Sunday against the Cubs (12:30, Denver East).
Notes: The Redhawks’ team ERA is an uncharacteristically high 4.84. . . . Seven Redhawks players have already struck out more than 10 times this season. . . . Jark’s triple was the Redhawks’ sixth of the season.
Hops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202 210 003 – 10 13 1
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . .041 031 000 – 9 6 3
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 4-0-1-1, Smith lf-p 2-0-0-0, Johnson 3b 3-1-0-0, Bies dh 3-0-0-1, Jark cf-p 3-1-2-1, Davis c 4-1-1-0, Gillem rf-cf 3-1-1-1, Cowan 1b 3-1-0-0, Qiu ss 2-0-0-0, Luersen 2b 2-1-1-3, Makovsky 2b 3-0-0-0, Gaudet rf 1-1-0-0, Weber 3b 0-1-0-0. Totals 33-8-6-7.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis 5-9-7-6-0-4, Smith (L 1-1) 3.2-4-3-0-3-2, Jark 0.1-0-0-0-0-1.
E – Johnson 2, Qiu. 2B – Gillem (2). 3B – Jark (1). HR – Luersen (1). SB – Gillem 3 (3), Johnson (4), Qiu (2). SF – Bies. HBP – Smith 2, Luersen.
STREAK OVER: WEBER PITCHES HAWKS PAST BROWNS
Win halts five-game skid in series matchup
DENVER – June 2 – The last time the Redhawks defeated the Denver Browns, stamps were 11 cents, gas was $1.05 per gallon and VHS was still the primary medium for folks to watch adult videos.
OK, it only seemed like it was that long, but it had definitely been a hot minute since the squad in red had won this matchup. Kenneth Weber made certain the streak wouldn’t persist past Sunday by registering a shutout in an 8-0 victory at Denver East.
In reality, the Redhawks had dropped five straight in the series dating back to their 2-0 win in the 2017 summer championship. And only one of those five was a close game.
“We needed to come out with a different attitude against the Browns,” Weber said. “And I kind of took that with me to the mound.”
Weber struck out 10 while scattering seven singles after the Hawks took command early. Exhibiting aggressiveness similar to their solid output in the Las Vegas Tournament, the Redhawks finally got to Browns pitcher Jeff Blitstein, who had breezed to wins in his previous four appearances against the Hawks.
The big blow was Kyle Jark’s inside-the-park, three-run homer that keyed a five-run fourth. Jark’s sinking liner narrowly eluded the glove of diving left fielder Jason Fobes and went to the wall, allowing Derek Johnson, Adam Bies and Jark himself to circle the bases standing up.
Chuck Gillem and Pat Davis registered three hits apiece for the Hawks (9-4, 6-2), who moved into first place in the Triple-A standings, at least for the time being. They took a 2-0 lead in the third when Sam Makovsky produced an RBI groundout and Gillem scored on a passed ball, which set the stage for the big fourth. Danny Qiu added an RBI single and Casey Hill a run-scoring double for the Hawks.
No precise data exists as to how many times the Browns have been shut out, but Weber estimated it was one in about every two million games. In actuality, betting on the Browns to be shut out would probably fetch 100-to-1 odds in Vegas, perhaps even steeper odds that one pitcher could pull off the feat. But Weber (4-0, 1.76 ERA) was as solid a candidate as any to get it done.
“That’s our ace,” said Gillem, who caught the shutout.
Redhawks players knew better than to take too much stock in the win, knowing the Triple-A circuit has a handful of top-flight contenders this season, including Night Trail, Colorado Cubs, the Aurora Afterburners and a few others. But ending the losing streak against the Browns was a significant achievement nonetheless.
Notes: Davis denied that he has any acrimony toward Hill, to whom he commonly wishes harm. “It’s not that I want Casey to die,” Davis said. “It’s just that I don’t want him to live anymore.” . . . The Redhawks next take on the Denver Hops (Sunday, 12:30, Evie Campus). . . . The Hawks played without Tommy Cowan, Justin Baum, Dylan Smith and Edison Rodriquez. . . . The Browns posted a photo album on Facebook with several great shots of the contest.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .002 500 100 – 8 14 0
Denver Browns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 000 000 000 – 0 7 1
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 3-0-1-1, Weber p 4-0-0-0, Johnson 3b 4-1-2-0, Bies 1b 2-1-1-0, Jark cf 3-1-2-3, Gaudet rf 4-0-0-0, Davis dh 4-2-3-0, Gillem c 4-2-3-0, Qiu ss 3-0-1-1, Makovsky 2b 4-0-0-1, Luersen 2b 3-1-1-0, Willis ph 2-0-0-0. Totals 40-8-14-6.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Weber (W 4-0) 9-7-0-0-0-10.
E – None. 2B – Hill (2), Gillem (1), Luersen (1). HR – Jark (1). SB – Hill (1). SAC – Qiu. HBP – Bies.
WINNING IN VEGAS: SHORTHANDED HAWKS REACH SEMIS
Redhawks rack up 51 runs, 74 hits in 3-2 performance
LAS VEGAS – May 27 – Heartbreak gave way to jubilation – and that was only Day 1. Then the Redhawks crushed their way as far they could before ultimately running out of pitching.
Expectations weren’t sky-high entering the Las Vegas Memorial Day Tournament, as the Redhawks were shorthanded with only 11 players while most teams had 15-plus. But the lone Colorado-based squad in the tourney rebounded from a devastating opening loss to represent well as the top offensive team in the tourney.
The Hawks went 2-1 in pool play, crushed the Silicon Valley Eagles in the quarterfinals then fell to SoCal Royals in the semifinals. The latter was their third game Sunday, and the Hawks tried to advance to the title game for the second straight year with only three pitchers who receive regular time.
“In some ways, this performance was even more satisfying than last year,” infielder Kenneth Weber said. “To make it as far as we did with only 11 guys, it was definitely a solid achievement.”
Overall, the Redhawks went 3-2 and scored 51 runs in the five games. All 11 players received ample time and every player had at least three hits in the tourney. Ten of the 11 recorded at least one extra-base hit, and ironically, cleanup hitter Kyle Jark was the only one who didn’t. But he had a walk-off winner and racked up six hits.
The only non-roster player the Redhawks added for the tourney was Chaz Davis, son of former major-leaguer Chili Davis. He went 8-for-14 with six RBIs, three steals and got a relief win on the mound.
Other hitting standouts included Weber, who went 9-for-20 with two doubles, two triples and a homer – after starting 0-for-6 with five strikeouts. He had a vintage pitching start and win in pool play. Catcher Pat Davis (8-for-16, five RBIs) and third baseman Derek Johnson (7-for-15, two triples, five RBIs) also raked. Four other Hawks – Corey Gaudet, Sam Makovsky, Danny Qiu and Casey Hill – accumulated seven hits apiece.
Here’s a quick snapshot of each game:
The Redhawks were neutralizing the most powerful team in the tourney and appeared en route to a win. Pitcher Paul Willis carried a 4-0 shutout into the seventh, as Chaz Davis’ two-run single keyed an early rally.
The Dodgers hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to cut it to 5-4 and make things interesting. It was a clear-cut closer situation, but with the Redhawks so short on arms, they tried to sneak Willis through. With one out, the Dodgers hit a backbreaking two-run homer to left to walk it off.
Danny Qiu registered three hits for the Hawks, who struck out 15 times in the heartbreaker.
After the rough opening loss, the Redhawks fell behind 9-1 and appeared bound for an 0-2 start. But they battled and cut it to 10-5 entering the ninth. They had a chance to make it look respectable against the eventual tourney champs.
But when Gaudet and Pat Davis hit back-to-back RBI singles to make it 10-7, the comeback effort became real. Then Qiu cleared the bases with a double to tie it up 10-10. After Chaz Davis pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, Weber led off the bottom with a double. Then Jark singled him home with the winner.
The Hawks racked up 17 hits including a 3-for-3 performance by Makovsky. Redhawks fielders, meanwhile, committed only one error on the first day of the tournament.
The Redhawks had to win this one to escape from pool play, and Weber made certain it happened. He struck out nine in seven innings, allowing only two runs. But that was only part of the story.
Weber doubled, tripled and hit a mammoth homer down the left-field line – the Hawks’ first round-tripper of the season. Gaudet clobbered three doubles and drove in two, and Derek Johnson went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.
Johnson also pitched the eighth and escaped his lifetime infinity ERA with the Hawks. He allowed three runs (two earned) in the inning.
Playing in a rare Vegas rainstorm, the Redhawks kept up their torrid hitting in the tournament semifinals. Makovsky, meanwhile, registered a crisp five-inning shutout in a game shortened by the rain.
Weber and Jark each registered three of the Hawks’ 16 hits. Pat Davis and Chaz Davis each had two-run doubles down the right-field line and Johnson had a two-run triple.
Makovsky coaxed two double plays, including a line-drive comebacker that he turned into a twin killing after hitting the game’s leadoff batter.
The Redhawks continued to hit, as they racked up 15 more. Pitching was a different story. Makovsky started his second straight game, and after a clean first, ran into trouble in a seven-run second.
Weber gutted out a solid seven outs while allowing only one more run, but the hard-hitting Royals eventually proved too much as the Hawks went to deep bullpen options.
Hill went 4-for-4 with a double, Weber added a run-scoring triple and the Davises (no relation) combined to go 6-for-7. Had the Redhawks won, they would have advanced to Monday’s title game with few pitching options.
Upon returning home, the Redhawks (8-4 overall, 5-2 league) will take on the Denver Browns (9 a.m., Sunday, Denver East).
REDHAWKS DERAILED BY NIGHT TRAIN
Hawks endure rare 10-run defeat
LAKEWOOD – Well, at least it wasn’t the Browns this time.
The Redhawks entered Sunday having won 19 straight games against anyone but the Browns. That streak – a number that seems to be something of a curse for the Hawks – came to a crashing halt at Bear Creek as the Redhawks absorbed a thorough 13-3 defeat at the hands of Night Train in the late-afternoon game.
Last season, the Redhawks’ overall 19-game winning streak came to end in the Las Vegas Tournament championship game. The Redhawks will head back to the tourney this week, but they’ll have no winning streak in tow.
After the Hawks jumped ahead 2-0, it was all Night Train. Starter Zac Baldini fanned 12 Redhawks over six innings and the second-year Triple-A squad led 9-2 after five innings. In one of the more uninspired Redhawks performances, the team managed only four hits (two by Kyle Jark – including a double – and doubles by Dylan Smith and Kenneth Weber).
Starter Edison Rodriquez struggled with command early and the defense wasn’t sharp behind him as he allowed nine runs (five earned) while pitching into the fifth. Reliever Paul Willis, who had permitted three runs all season, allowed four in the sixth inning.
The Redhawks (5-2) had gone 19-2 overall during the stretch with losses to the Browns in last season’s title game and Week 2 of this season. Night Train (4-3), meanwhile, is 2-0 against the Browns this season and has firmly established itself among the league’s top-level contenders.
The Hawks will face the Browns in their first game back from the tournament on June 2.
Notes: While the Redhawks made a dramatic run to the Vegas tournament title game last season, prospects are a bit more tempered this time. The Hawks had their entire squad last season but will be without their Day 1 starters Smith and Rodriquez (each are in weddings in Colorado), first baseman Tommy Cowan (injured foot) and slugger Adam Bies (preparing for his own wedding). . . . The Hawks took their early 2-0 first-inning lead on an RBI groundout by Derek Johnson and a seeing-eye RBI single by Jark. Weber added a run-scoring double in the sixth. . . . In a team poll to determine the team’s annual Vegas dinner spot, Lupo Wolfgang Puck and it’s Italian offerings firmly won the vote.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200 001 0 – 3 4 4
Night Train . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 421 024 X – 13 12 1
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Smith lf 2-2-1-0, Weber ss 2-1-1-1, Bies 1b-rf 3-0-0-0, Johnson 3b 3-0-0-1, Jark cf 2-0-2-1, Gaudet rf-lf 3-0-0-0, Davis dh 3-0-0-0, Gillem c 3-0-0-0, Rodriquez p 2-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 1-0-0-0, Luersen 2b 1-0-0-0, Baum 1b 1-0-0-0. Totals 26-3-4-3.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Rodriquez (L 0-2) 4.2-7-9-5-4-2, Willis 1.1-5-4-3-0-0.
E – Weber 3, Jark. 2B – Weber (3), Jark (2), Smith (1).
ANOTHER LATE RALLY PROPELS REDHAWKS
Eight-run eighth paves way to fourth straight victory
ENGLEWOOD – It’s a quality that is great to have, yet one you don’t want to utilize that often – the ability to play through an early deficit.
For the second straight week, the Redhawks trailed entering the latter innings. And for the second straight week, they rallied to take their first lead in the latter going and went on to win. This time, an eight-run eighth propelled the Hawks to a 14-6 victory over the Green Elephants at Englewood.
And again, Pat Davis delivered the go-ahead hit.
Last week, the Redhawks trailed 2-0 against the Bombers entering the seventh, but Davis’ two-run single put the Hawks ahead for the first time in an eventual 5-2 win. This time the Redhawks trailed 4-3 entering the eighth. After Derek Johnson’s fly ball was misplayed allowing Adam Bies to score the tying run, Davis delivered another go-ahead single.
Then the floodgates opened.
Chuck Gillem added an RBI single. Then Dylan Smith a two-run single. Then Danny Qiu another run-scoring single (his first hit of the season) and the rout was on.
Smith (2-for-3, three RBIs) started, struck out seven and gave up three runs over six innings. All three runs were in the first before the left-hander settled in. Kenneth Weber (2-0) earned the win in relief after two up-and-down innings in which he whiffed five.
Johnson finished 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs for the Redhawks (5-1), who won their fourth straight. Kyle Jark returned from his wedding and Fiji honeymoon to go 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two steals. He also pitched a scoreless night.
Notes: Dating to last season, the Redhawks have won 19 of their last 21, with both losses coming to the Browns. This week’s opponent, Night Train, has the opposite thing going. They’ve beaten the Browns twice this season but are 3-3 overall. . . . After bringing their entire squad to Las Vegas last year, the Redhawks currently only have 10 players committed after some late injuries and de-commitments. Two others are in weddings that weekend. The squad is seeking external options but running out of time. . . . First baseman Tommy Cowan (deep bone bruise) will miss about four more weeks. . . . The Hawks are now in first place in the Triple-A standings.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .011 100 083 – 14 13 1
Green Elephants . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 000 120 – 6 8 5
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 4-1-1-0, Weber ss-p 3-1-0-0, Bies 1b-rf 5-2-0-0, Johnson 3b 5-3-3-1, Jark cf-p 2-1-2-2, Gaudet rf-cf 4-1-0-0, Davis c 4-2-2-1, Gillem dh-lf 3-1-1-1, Rodriquez 2b-ss 4-0-1-0, Smith p 3-1-2-3, Qiu 2b 2-1-1-1, Baum rf-1b 1-0-0-0, Willis ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 41-14-13-9.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Smith 6-4-3-3-2-7, Weber (W 2-0) 2-4-3-2-0-5, Jark 1-0-0-0-0-0.
E – Johnson. 2B – Johnson (1). SB – Jark 2 (2). HBP – Jark. SF – Jark.
WILLIS HITS MILESTONE AS HAWKS WIN 3RD STRAIGHT
Offense comes through late to support another strong mound effort
DENVER – The Colorado Redhawks took on the Bombers on Sunday afternoon, marking the first matchup between the two since the 2018 semifinals. Repeating history, the Redhawks came out victorious thanks in large part to a strong pitching performance by veteran Paul Willis.
Willis went the distance, throwing a complete game in a 5-2 victory at East High School. The win marked the right-hander’s 150th with the squad.
The ‘Hawks offense was dormant early, producing zeroes on the scoreboard the first two trips through the lineup. However, in what some may find inconsiderate and others resilient – depending on the context – they continued to do what they do best: come from behind. The Redhawks trailed this one 2-0 after six innings, first surrendering an unearned run in the fourth and Willis’ lone earned run in the sixth, before breaking out in the seventh with a four-spot.
The rally was started by when Kenneth Weber was hit by pitch and Adam Bies walked, which set up first-and-second with nobody out. An errant throw into center field allowed the first run to score, then first baseman Tommy Cowan proceeded to tie up the game with a base hit. Two batters later, designated hitter Pat Davis followed up with a sharp line drive single to center, scoring two more to put the Redhawks up for good.
Despite the late offensive charge, the biggest story of this game came on the mound (figuratively, not literally). Willis continued the team’s strong pitching performance by going the full nine and stifling the Bombers offense. After uncharacteristically walking the leadoff hitter each of the first three innings, Willis settled in and continued to produce soft contact throughout the game while spreading out nine hits and striking out three.
The Redhawks played solid defense in support of their hurler, turning two double plays early while also only committing one error, which was on a tough slicing fly ball in left field that bounced out of the glove of Casey Hill.
Willis’ 150th matched the career totals of Dizzy Dean and Jered Weaver while facing only a slightly inferior level of competition. Then again, one played his entire career in an era before desegregation in baseball and the other is Jered Friggin’ Weaver, so, on second thought, the feat is basically equal.
The longtime manager, who passed along the reins to Weber this season, has been a staple of the team both on and off the field, helping bring the current group together while also continuing to provide solid contributions on the field year in and year out. Willis took home “Pitcher of the Year” honors with the team last year and has picked up from where he left off, throwing to the tune of 1.32 ERA through 13.2 innings pitching this season.
When asked for a thought on the achievement, Willis (150-68 career mark) humbly replied: “It’s more a team achievement. The Redhawks win a lot of games and I just happen to be pitching some of them.”
Redhawks’ Facebook follower Adam Dunivan, a former outfielder with team from 2002-04, also chipped in, providing a less recited reaction of: “Willis First Ballot NABA HOFer”.
Regardless of whose quote was better (the latter), the Redhawks players and community congratulate Willis on his accomplishment, and look forward to the next 150.
Notes: Chuck Gillem made his return to the field, recording a hit and a walk while catching all nine innings. . . . The Redhawks now have a 2.45 team ERA. Edison Rodriguez has had some tough breaks on the mound, giving up nine earned on the season. The rest of the staff has given up only three earned runs in 31 innings. … Davis and Weber, dubbed “The Bellco Connection,’ have combined to hit a cool .500 this year, going 16-for-32 on the young season. . . .Tommy Cowan fouled a ball off his foot in the middle innings but stayed in the game. X-Rays were performed on Monday revealing an injury that may result in the incumbent first baseman missing time.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .000 000 410 – 5 7 1
Bombers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160 000 010 – 2 9 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 4-0-1-0, Weber ss 3-1-1-0, Bies rf 3-1-1-0, Johnson 3b 4-1-0-0, Cowan 1b 3-1-1-1, Gaudet rf 2-0-0-0, Davis dh 3-0-1-2, Gillem c 2-0-1-0, Smith cf 3-0-0-0, Luersen 2b 2-1-1-0, Makovsky 2b 2-0-0-0, Willis p 0-0-0-1, Qiu ss 1-0-0-0. Totals 33-5-7-4.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis (W 2-0) 9-9-2-1-3-3.
E – Hill. 2B – Bies (3), Weber (2). SB – Weber (3), Luersen (1). HBP – Weber. SF – Willis.
HAWKS REDISCOVER BATS IN SUNDAY SWEEP
After .200 start in first two games, Hawks register 29 hits in doubleheader
ENGLEWOOD – After a desultory first two weeks with the bats, it was probably too early to inquire whether the Redhawks had lost their mojo at the plate.
Any hints of that prospect were dissolved Sunday, when the Redhawks went Black Eyed Peas in a doubleheader sweep: Boom, Boom, Pow. The hard-hitting Hawks racked up a combined 29 hits in defeating the Cubs 9-7 and Thunder 10-3 on the Englewood diamond.
The return of ballyhooed slugger Corey Gaudet helped, but the outfielder only contributed one base hit to the bashtastic attack. Pat Davis (6-for-7) and Kenneth Weber (5-for-9) led the charge, as the Redhawks rebounded from an atrocious 13-for-65 start in the first two games.
Here’s a look at each game:
Redhawks 9, Cubs 7
Things appeared cataclysmic early as the Hawks fell into an early 6-1 crater in the second inning, but they methodically battled back. They took the lead for good with a three-run seventh, the go-ahead run scored by Adam Bies after he recorded the second of his three intentional passes.
A bases-loaded walk to Gaudet tied things 6-6, then Davis singled home Bies with the go-ahead run. Dylan Smith earned the win in relief after allowing just one unearned run in four innings.
Weber finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two stolen bases. Davis and starting pitcher Edison Rodriquez also contributed three hits apiece to spur the Hawks’ 15-hit attack.
Redhawks 10, Thunder 3
The Redhawks again fell behind early – this time 2-0. But starting pitcher Weber rebounded to blank the Thunder over the next seven innings and the Redhawks steadily built a lead.
Weber’s final line: 8 innings, O earned runs, 9 strikeouts.
The Hawks (3-1) accumulated 14 more hits, including three more from Davis and two apiece by Weber, Bies, Derek Johnson and Justin Baum. The latter caught the second game in its entirety with regular platoon catcher Chuck Gillem still on the mend.
Sam Makovsky added an RBI double for the Hawks and Gaudet contributed a two-run single and sacrifice fly. Gaudet, who played for the Hawks from 2009-13, drove in four runs on the day.
Notes: Despite not striking out, leadoff man Casey Hill went 0-for-10 in the doubleheader. The tough-luck outfielder is 1-for-18 to start the season. “He had some bad luck in the 0-fer, especially in the first game,” Weber said. . . . The Redhawks struck out only three times in the second game. . . . Bies has already drawn five intentional walks this season. “I might have to find a new league,” he said.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 220 301 – 9 15 3
Cubs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160 000 010 – 7 8 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 5-0-0-0, Weber ss 5-3-3-3, Cowan 1b 5-0-0-0, Bies rf 2-1-1-1, Johnson 3b 4-1-1-1, Gaudet cf 3-1-0-1, Davis c 3-1-3-1, Rodriquez p 4-0-3-2, Makovsky 2b 2-0-1-0, Luersen 2b 2-1-1-0, Smith cf-p 4-1-1-0, Baum ph 1-0-1-0. Totals 40-9-15-9.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Rodriquez 5-4-6-4-4-4, Smith (W 1-0) 4-4-1-0-2-4.
E – Johnson 2, Weber. 2B – Davis (1) SB – Weber 2 (2). HBP – Davis.
Thunder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 000 001 – 3 7 0
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 101 21X – 10 14 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 5-0-0-0, Weber p 4-1-2-0, Bies rf 4-2-2-1, Johnson 3b 3-2-2-1, Cowan 1b 2-2-1-0, Gaudet cf 2-0-1-3, Davis dh 4-1-3-3, Qiu ss 3-0-0-0, Baum c 4-1-2-1, Luersen 2b 2-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 2-0-1-1, Willis p 0-1-0-0. Totals 35-10-14-10.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Weber (W 1-0) 8-4-2-0-2-9, Willis 1-3-1-1-0-1.
E – Bies, Luersen. 2B – Bies (2), Weber (1), Makovsky (1). HBP – Weber, Bies. SF – Gaudet.
HAWKS' STRUGGLES VS. BROWNS CONTINUE
Team eyeing potential roster move after light-hitting start to the season
ENGLEWOOD – April 14 – It looked to be a recipe for disaster. Instead it turned into more of a run-of-the-mill loss.
The Redhawks were playing without five regulars Sunday against the NABA stalwart Denver Browns, but remained in contention for most the contest at Englewood before falling 6-1 in the second game of the season.
The Redhawks (1-1) trailed only 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh before the Browns erupted for a three-run rally to ice it. Starting pitcher Edison Rodriquez went the distance, struck out 10 and gave the Redhawks a chance. But the Redhawks stranded 11 runners, including five at third base.
With the recent hitting struggles and several players’ availability curtailed early in the season, the Redhawks are exploring the possibility of re-adding outfielder Corey Gaudet. The slugger, who played with the Hawks from 2009-13 and holds numerous team batting records, has reached out to the team about rejoining and could be in uniform as soon as the team’s doubleheader on Aug. 28.
While the Redhawks have certainly opposed solid arms in the first two weeks, they’ve batted only a collective 13-for-65 (.200 average) and have been abysmal with runners in scoring position. Adam Bies, Justin Baum and Kyle Jark each hit a double in this one, but all were with the bases empty. Pat Davis went 2-for-4 for the Hawks.
The Hawks recorded their lone run in the top of the second, when Danny Qiu’s groundball turned into an error when the Browns misplayed a force opportunity. That allowed Jark (running for Davis) to score and put the Hawks up 1-0. It was their first lead against the Browns since winning the 2017 title game 2-0.
Rodriquez fell to 10-3 all-time as a Redhawks player, with all three losses coming to the Browns. That makes sense because the Redhawks pretty much only lose to the Browns. They went 30-3 against everyone else last season and 0-4 against the Browns.
Notes: The Redhawks played without regulars Chuck Gillem, Tommy Cowan, Kenneth Weber, Sam Makovsky and Dylan Smith. All five started in the championship games against the Browns in 2017 and 2018, which the teams split. . . . With only 10 of their own teammates in the fold for the Las Vegas Tournament next month, the Hawks are reaching out to other teams in hopes of adding a few players. . . . Photos courtesy of Denver Browns Facebook page.
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 010 000 000 – 1 8 1
Browns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .000 200 31X – 6 10 4
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill lf 4-0-0-0, Luersen 2b 5-0-1-0, Bies rf 3-0-1-0, Johnson 3b 4-0-1-0, Jark cf 4-0-1-0, Davis c 4-1-2-0, Rodriquez p 3-0-1-0, Baum 1b 4-0-1-0, Qiu ss 4-0-0-0, Willis ph 2-0-0-0. Totals 37-1-8-0.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Rodriquez (L 0-1) 8-10-6-5-8-10.
E – Davis. 2B – Bies (1), Jark (1), Baum (1). SB – Rodriquez (2). SAC – Rodriquez.
REDHAWKS EDGE AFTERBURNERS IN 2019 OPENER
Hawks manage only five hits, but pitching carries the squad to 1-0
AURORA – April 7 – The Redhawks have been relatively consistent throughout their history, but especially so in season openers. That’s usually because they get more field time than many other teams in the weeks leading up the season.
That certainly wasn’t the case this spring, as most of the Redhawks were playing outdoors for the first time Sunday. That didn’t prevent them from triumphing again in an opener, however, as they were able to hold off the on-the-rise Aurora Afterburners 4-1 at Vista Peak.
The Redhawks won for the 10th time in the past 11 openers and improved to 15-3 all time on Opening Day, having only dropped the initial game of the season in 2005, 2008 and 2015.
“It just felt good to be outside,” said first baseman Justin Baum, who contributed a single and scored a run.
The Hawks managed only five hits, but came within one strike of registering a combined shutout against the two-time 18 Wood champs, who went 20-1 in the regular season last year. Kyle Jark, Paul Willis and Kenneth Weber combined to strike out 13, with Weber earning the save after entering to escape a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and closing thing from there.
Willis earned career win No. 149 after taking over for Jark, who by design went only three innings as the team continues to work their arms into shape.
Weber started the scoring with an RBI triple to left-center in the second, which turned out to be the Hawks’ lone extra-base hit. Casey Hill singled to drive in Baum in the fourth to make it 2-0. Jark added an RBI single in the fifth and Willis drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh to push the advantage to 4-0.
While the Redhawks’ bats didn’t do much, they drew nine walks and were hit by three pitches, which gave them steady traffic on the base paths. They’ll take on the Denver Browns in Week 2, weather permitting.
Notes: Former Redhawks third baseman Jared Ming, who now lives in Oahu, was in attendance. . . . The lone newcomer to the Redhawks this season is infielder Chris Luersen. He played second base and went 1-for-4 with a run scored. . . . The Hawks played without regulars Chuck Gillem, Sam Makovsky, Dylan Smith and Derek Johnson. . . . Weber will miss the Week 2 contest while in vacation in Mexico.
Afterburners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 000 000 001 – 1 10 1
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 010 110 10X – 4 5 2
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill cf-lf 4-0-1-1, Luersen 2b 4-1-1-0, Cowan 3b-1b 2-1-0-0, Bies rf 2-0-0-0, Jark p-cf 3-0-1-1, Davis c 2-1-0-0, Willis p 0-0-0-1, Weber ss-p 4-0-1-1, Baum 1b 3-1-1-0, Qiu lf-3b 3-0-0-0, Rodriquez 3b-ss 1-0-0-0. Totals 28-4-5-4.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Jark 3-3-0-0-1-5, Willis (W 1-0) 3.2-5-0-0-1-4, Weber (Sv 1) 2.1-2-1-1-2-2.
E – Jark, Rodriquez. 3B – Weber (1). SB – Rodriquez (1). HBP – Bies, Qiu, Rodriquez.
REDHAWKS CAPTURE THIRD STRAIGHT FALL CROWN
Hawks finish with 30 wins, establish several team records
ENGLEWOOD – Oct. 30, 2018 – Ultimately, the Redhawks’ 2018 season ended the way it began – with a win at Englewood on a chilly day.
What happened in between accounted for one of the most memorable seasons in team annals, although it will be remembered somewhat like Mia Khalifa’s bathtub scene: solid but not their most successful.
The Hawks closed with a 9-5 win against the Raptors that netted them their third consecutive Fall League title, but the season was most notable for an epic run in Vegas and failure to repeat as Triple-A champs against the Browns.
The Redhawks (30-7) established a team mark for victories in a season and won 14 of their final 15. The defeat, though, was an 8-3 decision to the Denver Browns in the Triple-A final. The Hawks went 0-4 against the Browns this season, 30-3 against everyone else.
The loss to Sonora in the Vegas tournament championship game wasn’t as crushing, as the Hawks made a solid 4-0 run against out-of-state competition to get there. That’s after finishing 2-2 in the same tourney last year.
The Hawks also witnessed one of the best single-season performances in team history, as Adam Bies shattered the hits record by recording 51. That included a .515 batting average, by far the highest since the Redhawks moved up to Triple-A in 2014. Bies also edged Kyle Jark for the team RBI title 35-34 by virtue of his three-run home run in the second inning.
The Hawks trailed 2-0 after a bizarre top of the first that began with right fielder Casey Hill falling down twice on a pop up that became a triple. A “goddamnit” from Hill underscored his frustration, but the deficit was short-lived. The Hawks erupted for five in the bottom of the inning, a rally that included Jark’s two-run triple to right-center.
After the clutch hit, Jark led Bies by two RBI. But Bies launched his three-run jack into orbit in the bottom of the second. After Sam Makovsky’s RBI single in the third, the Redhawks were in command 9-2.
Pitcher Paul Willis improved to 9-1, but failed in his bid to become the first Redhawks pitcher to record a sub-2.00 ERA in a season. Willis entered with a 1.72 ERA, but after giving up three in the sixth and five earned runs overall, watched it climb to 2.13. Jark pitched a scoreless seventh to close it out.
The season also saw four Redhawks players surpass the 200-hit plateau – Jark, Chuck Gillem, Pat Davis and Tommy Cowan. Gillem’s first-inning double helped kick-start the rally after Hill led off with the first of his three singles.
The Redhawks haven’t lost a fall game since 2015 and have gone 23-0 over the past three seasons.
Notes: Like last year, Redhawks players will vote for MVP, Pitcher of the Year and Gold Glove. . . . The Hawks played without Edison Rodriquez, who injured a knee in the semifinals. They were also without typical regulars Cowan, Danny Qiu and Dylan Smith, who played sparingly in the fall. . . . Third baseman Derek Johnson, an early candidate to break Jared Ming’s record of 47 hits, ended up tying the mark and finished second to Bies. Johnson batted .409, also second on the squad. . . . Redhawks pitchers walked only 67 hitters this season (less than two per game) and only three in seven fall contests. . . . Their hitters drew 187 free passes, making the squad plus-120 in walk differential.
Raptors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200 003 0 – 5 9 3
Redhawks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531 000 X – 9 9 0
Redhawks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Hill rf-lf-cf 4-2-3-0, Gillem lf-c 4-2-1-0, Bies 1b 3-2-2-4, Johnson 3b 3-1-0-1, Jark cf-p 2-1-1-2, Davis c 2-0-0-1, Weber ss 2-1-0-0, Willis p-lf 2-0-0-0, Baum dh-rf 3-0-0-0, Makovsky 2b 3-0-2-1. Totals 28-9-9-9.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) – Willis (W 9-1) 6-7-5-5-0-2, Jark 1-2-0-0-0-2.
E – None. 2B – Gillem (9). 3B – Jark (2). HR – Bies (7). SB – Weber (9). SF – Davis. HBP – Jark.