LF D’Shawn Knowles had a big night at the plate and John Swanda pitched six strong innings, helping the Columbia River Rooster Tails (28-36 2H, 57-70) to a 5-3 win over the Spokane Indians (29-35 2H, 63-65) Friday night in front of a packed crowd of 3,750 at Gesa Stadium.
Knowles keyed the offense, smacking two doubles down the right field line and scoring on both early in the game. He added a single and a walk later in the game, as well as a sacrifice fly to drive in a run.
Knowles’s first two-bagger came in the bottom of the 1st inning, hitting a pitch from Spokane starter Andrew Quezada (9-4) off the wall on the fly near the right field line. An infield single by SS Osmy Gregorio advanced Knowles to third base, from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by 1B Gabe Matthews for a 1-0 lead.
After the Indians tied the game on an RBI groundout in the top of the 3rd, Knowles again doubled by sending a liner down the right field line which ran to the wall. Matthews again delivered, this time with a single to right center field that scored Knowles for a 2-1 lead.
Columbia River plated two more runs in the 5th inning. Gregorio reached on a fielder’s choice and Matthews singled for the second time, putting two on with two out. CF Joe Stewart came up and legged out another infield single, scoring Gregorio to make it 3-1. Quezada argued the call and was ejected, with reliever Juan Mejia replacing him. 3B Christian Sepulveda then singled to left center field, scoring Matthews just before Stewart was tagged out at third.
Spokane got a run back in the 6th, but the Rooster Tails answered again in the bottom of the inning. RF Casey Dana laced a one-out single to right field and moved to second base on a walk drawn by C Straton Podaras. 2B Kyle Kasser then reached on a fielding error, loading the bases.
It was then Knowles’s turn for a sac fly, scoring Dana for a 5-2 lead.
Pitching-wise, Swanda (5-1) closed out his 2022 with another good performance, giving up two runs on six hits over his quality start, striking out six. Lefty Mason Albright gave up a run in the 7th but got out of trouble, leaving it a 5-3 game. Emilker Guzman and Dakota Donovan followed with scoreless innings of relief, with Donovan getting his sixth save to delight the largest crowd of the season.
The Tri-City Dust Devils return for the final two games of 2022, starting with game five of their six-game series at 6:30 p.m….