Kwan Atkins (10) greets Beicker Mendoza at home plate after Mendoza scored on a RBI-single by Yorlis Rodriguez in the Volcanoes 13-3 win over Vancouver on Friday, July 5 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

A 6-1 victory for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes opened a three-game home series with Vancouver on Thursday, July 4.

The crowd of 5,443, the best in five years, saw the usual Independence Day pregame ceremonies and post-game fireworks. Starter Kervin Castro was the winning pitcher with a 2-1 record, and Sean Roby and Ricardo Genoves led the attack for the Salem-Keizer offense. 

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning. After Yorlis Rodriguez flew out to left field with a drive that just missed being a home run, Kwan Adkins tripled to right field. Vancouver starter Grant Townsend was replaced by Parker Caracci, who walked Simon Whiteman. Whiteman stole second base, and Roby walked as well to load the bases. Ricardo Genoves then doubled to right, driving in all three runners. 

Townsend became the losing pitcher at 1-2.

Castro went six innings, striking out four, allowing two hits, and walking four. Chris Roberts pitched the seventh and eighth innings.

In the seventh, the Volcanoes scored the rest of their runs. Alex Canario hit a one-out single to center. Roby drove him in with a triple to center. Genoves drew a base on balls. A wild pitch by Joshua Almonte scored Roby. Franklin Labour doubled to left, driving in Genoves.

The Canadians got their lone run of the game in the ninth off of Bryce Tucker. Luis de los Santos reached first base on a force out and went to second on an error by second baseman, Rodriguez. Trevor Schwecke drove de los Santos in with a single to center.

Asked how the Volcanoes had been improving their overall play lately, manager Mark Hallberg said it was a combination of things.

“Sometimes a team turns itself right around,” he said.

“We just have fun,” was Labour’s reply to the same question. “We have good chemistry.”

Most of the improvement has been in the pitching. Castro, primarily a fastball pitcher, said through a translator that the focus was on getting ahead in the count.

Tuesday, July 2: Volcanoes 9, Spokane 3

Salem-Keizer won this series with one game to go by taking charge from the start.

Franklin Labour hit two home runs to raise his league-leading total to nine, and Jesus Ozoria became the Volcanoes’ first three-game winner, with no losses.

Labour’s homers came in the first and seventh innings, and in the fourth inning Tyler Flores hit his fourth dinger and Jeff Houghtby his second.

Ozoria went six innings and allowed only three hits. Clay Helvey had his second save.

Labour, Armani Smith and Houghtby had two hits each.

Wednesday, July 3: Volcanoes 7, Spokane 6

Spokane didn’t make it easy, but Salem-Keizer came from behind to make it a sweep.

The Volcanoes scored three times in the first inning, but the Indians came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning. After the Volcanoes tied the score in the third, they added a run in the fourth, and Spokane went ahead by one in the bottom half. A run in the sixth and one more in the seventh gave Salem-Keizer the win.

For the Volcanoes, Tyler Flores hit his fifth home run in the fifth with two runners on. Franklin Labour hit his 10th in the third and Kwan Adkins his first in the fourth; both were solo shots.

Travis Perry was the winning pitcher in five innings of relief for a 1-0 record. Sam Hellinger, also in relief, lost his first game against two wins.

Friday, July 5: Volcanoes 13, Vancouver 3

Five second-inning runs were two more than the Volcanoes needed to win this one.

Salem-Keizer outhit Vancouver 19-7 and added to their lead by scoring four in the third and three in the fourth. The Canadians’ first run came in the sixth on a bases-empty home run by Philip Clarke, the only homer of the game.

Yorlis Rodriguez led the Volcanoes with four hits. Armani Smith and Beicker Mendoza had three each.

Jacob Lopez, who started for Salem-Keizer, gave up no runs but four walks and left after four innings. Trevor Horn, the first of three relievers, won his first game after two losses. Gabriel Ponce, Vancouver’s starter, took the loss for an 0-1 record.

Saturday, July 6: Vancouver 16, Volcanoes 9

Despite not getting the sweep, the Volcanoes still ended the series with the best record in the Northwest League and the Canadians the worst.

Vancouver scored three runs in the first inning and eight in the second and held Salem-Keizer scoreless until the fourth, when the first two Volcano runs scored.

The Canadians outhit the Volcanoes 22-12, with Trevor Schwecke getting five hits and Philip Clarke chipping in with four for the visitors. Franklin Labour led Salem-Keizer with three hits, including his league-leading 11th home run.

Each team had two home runs, with Tyler Flores hitting his sixth for the Volcanoes. Tanner Morris and Philip Clarke homered for Vancouver.

Juan Diaz was the winning pitcher with a 1-1 record. Luis Moreno lost his first game after two wins. 

Sunday, July 7: Volcanoes 10, Eugene 7

Tyler Flores led this road comeback with an eighth-inning grand slam.

After Eugene led 5-0 through three innings, Salem-Keizer scored three in the top of the fourth. The Emeralds added a run in the seventh, but a bases-loaded walk to Ricardo Genoves sent Alexander Canario home to trim the the deficit to 6-4 in the top of the eighth. Then, the grand slam from Flores gave the Volcanoes their first lead of the game. 

The Volcanoes added two runs in the ninth. Simon Whiteman singled and went to second and third on two groundouts. Sean Roby singled him home, and Labour doubled Roby home.

With one out in the Eugene ninth, a single by Nelson Maldonado scored Chase Strumpf. But Volcanoes pitcher Deiyerbert Bolivar struck out the last two batters to end the game.

Reliever Clay Helvey got the win for a 1-1 record. Reidal Orta, also in relief, took the loss at 0-2.

Monday, July 8: Volcanoes 9, Eugene 7

Again Salem-Keizer came from behind, sweeping the two-game series.

Eugene took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Volcanoes responded with eight runs in the top of the third. The Emeralds outhit their visitors 13-11, but Volcano pitchers scattered the hits enough to hold the lead.

In the Volcano second, Alexander Canario homered with Brandon Martorano on base. Simon Whiteman reached first base on a throwing error that let Harrison Freed and Kwan Adkins score. Sean Roby singled Whiteman home, and a Martorano single scored Roby. Canario doubled to drive in Franklin Labour and Martorano.

The Emeralds added a run in the third and two each in the fifth and seventh but never caught up.

Travis Perry, pitching five innings of relief, was the winning pitcher at 2-0. Bryce Tucker got his third save. The loss went to Zach Mort, 1-2.