By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes
A 3-3 September record for Salem-Keizer ended the Volcanoes’ regular season before they split two games with Hillsboro in the Southern Division title series. The rubber game was played Wednesday after press time and the Salem-Keizer team lost 6-5 in 13 innings.
Playoffs – Monday: Volcanoes 4, Hillsboro 2
The Volcanoes, in their first of a three-game Southern Division series with the Hops, made the most of their six hits to Hillsboro’s nine and fielded a bit better than their guests to win by two runs.
Salem-Keizer scored the first run in the first inning. Hillsboro tied the score in the second and led briefly with a run in the fourth. The Volcanoes scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and added the final run of the game in the fifth.
Starting pitcher Mike Connolly, who went six innings to get the win, scattered nine hits, and struck out five with only one walk, pitching himself out of jams in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Caleb Smith pitched the next two innings, earning a hold, and Ryan Halstead pitched the ninth for a save.
Ronnie Jebavy singled in the first, reached third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Miguel Gomez. In the Hillsboro second, Luis Veras singled, went to second on a ground out and scored on a single by Nate Robertson.
Veras singled again in the fourth, reached third on a double by Alexis Olmeda and went home on a sacrifice fly by Gerard Hernandez.
In the Volcano fourth, Chris Shaw singled and went to second on a single by Jose Vizcaino Jr. Byron Murray reached first base on an error that let Shaw score. A squeeze bunt by Fernando Pujadas scored Vizcaino.
Steven Duggar walked with one out in the fifth, went to third on a single by Shaw and scored on a wild pitch.
Cody Reed was the Hops’ starting and losing pitcher.
Playoffs – Tuesday: Hillsboro 8, Volcanoes 0
The Hops snapped back and resumed their usual 2015 treatment of the Volcanoes.
Leading 1-0 after 2-1/2 innings, Hillsboro broke the game open with a four-run bottom of the third. Meanwhile, all-star pitcher Carlos Hernandez held Salem-Keizer to three hits with 12 strikeouts and two bases on balls before being removed after 6-1/3 innings because of his pitch count.
Kirby Bellow pitched the rest of the Volcano seventh, and Will Landsheft was the closer.
The only Volcano hits were singles by Steven Duggar, Miguel Gomez and Dillon Dobson.
Hillsboro’s fourth-inning runs came on three singles, a walk and a force out. The Hops’ biggest blow was a two-run homer from the usually quiet bat of Nate Robertson in the fifth. Grant Heyman had three hits and Zach Nehrir, Trevor Mitsui and Robertson two each.
Grant Watson was the Volcanoes’ starting and losing pitcher, giving up three runs in his 2-1/3 innings. Relievers Eric Sim and Domenic Mazza were roughed up as well, but Armando Paniagua followed with one of his best performances of the year, striking out three in two shutout innings. Rayan Hernandez pitched the last inning, striking out one.
Sept. 2: Volcanoes 3, Eugene 2
This game evened the home series with Eugene and put Salem-Keizer back over the .500 mark for the season.
The Emeralds scored the first two runs of the game in the second inning, and the Volcanoes scored once in the fourth inning and twice in the seventh.
Eugene’s runs came on a walk to Ian Rice, a single by Blake Headley, a force out and a single by Donnie Dewees.
In the Volcano fourth, Byron Murray tripled for his first Northwest League hit and scored on an error.
Chris Shaw led off the bottom of the seventh with his 11th home run of the season. Jose Vizcaino doubled, went to third on a ground out and scored on a triple by Julio Pena.
David Owen was the winning pitcher in relief at 3-2. Ryan Halstead had his seventh save. Reliever Tyler Peitzmeier took the loss at 2-3.
Sept. 3: Eugene 5, Volcanoes 1
The Emeralds came close to eliminating the Volcanoes from contention for the second-half South Division title by winning the rubber game of the series.
Eugene led all the way, scoring one run each in the first, fourth and fifth innings and two in the ninth, in which the Emeralds set Salem-Keizer down in order with three strikeouts. The visitors outhit the Volcanoes 13-5.
Julio Pena hit his sixth home run in the fifth for the only Salem-Keizer run.
Adbert Alzolay was the winning pitcher in relief at 6-2.
Sept. 4: Volcanoes 8, Boise 3
The Volcanoes kept their playoff hopes alive with this victory in the first of a three-game road series.
Salem-Keizer bats came alive, but the club ended its string of tightly fielded games, making four errors. The Hawks, however, made six.
Three of the Volcanoes’ runs came in the first inning, and they kept the lead all the way. Two errors, a double by Chris Shaw, two singles and a force out produced the runs.
Boise came back with one run in the first but then was held to one run in the fourth and one in the eighth.
The seventh was the Volcanoes’ biggest inning with four runs. They came on doubles by Ronnie Jebavy and Shaw, a single, a walk, an error and a sacrifice fly.
Both starting pitchers were the pitchers of record. The Volcanoes’ Luis Pino ran his record to 4-1, and the Hawks’ Colin Welmon went to 2-5.
Saturday: Volcanoes 2, Boise 1
Salem-Keizer had a 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Boise tied the score, but the Volcanoes added a run in the eighth and stayed in the running for post-season play.
Chris Shaw’s 12th home run of the season provided the first run, with starting pitcher Drew Leenhouts keeping the Hawks scoreless through six innings before being relieved because of his pitch count. Cory Taylor replaced him and gave up Boise’s run on a walk, a stolen base and a single.
In the top of the eighth, Scott Price walked with two out, Steven Duggar moved him to second base with a bunt single, and Steven Duggar singled Price home.
Taylor was the winning pitcher at 2-0, and Ryan Halstead got his eighth save. Drasen Johnson was the losing pitcher in relief; his record is 2-4.