After a nose-diving tailspin of losing eight of nine games, the Hawaii Stars were in need of good news, especially the hopeful arrival of an offense often relegated to producing stagnant singles or strikeouts.
The Stars got a much-needed double dose of good cheer on Friday, both on and off the field.
Hawaii exploded for seven runs in the seventh inning and trounced the Vallejo Admirals 8-4 in a Pacific Association game at Wilson Park in Vallejo, Calif., leveraging the six-game series at two sets a piece.
Earlier on Friday, Hawaii announced that the East Bay Lumberjacks will replace the Admirals on its home schedule. In three games last month at home, the Stars swept the then-semipro Lumberjacks. East Bay was anointed as the league’s newest full-time member, shedding its semipro label.
The two pro independent colleagues will tangle in three doubleheaders, starting at 3 p.m. July 16-17 at Wong Stadium and at 1:30 p.m. July 20 at UH-Hilo’s baseball field.
On Friday, the Stars capitalized on five Vallejo errors in the seventh. They also helped themselves with five hits in a wild inning that began when Katsuaki Furuki drew a walk off Corey Vogt, who threw one ball to Felix Brown and was immediately replaced.
Jeremiah Steinert entered and walked Brown, kicking the snowball down Vallejo’s valley. Marshall McDonald had an RBI single. Then Steinert recorded two strikeouts before Anthony Williams’ run-scoring single.
The game was suddenly tied at 3-3 and up stepped Dustin Smith, who singled. On left fielder Matt Streich’s error, Marshall scored and Williams advanced an extra base. Next, Admirals catcher Isaac Wenrich committed two errors, allowing Williams and Smith to score.
The nightmare didn’t stop there for Streich and Wenrich. Matt Hibbert singled and Brendan Davis reached on the second error by Streich, letting in Hibbert. Furuki came up again, singled and Davis scored on Wenrich’s third error.
Williams batted 2 for 5, bumping his batting average to .303, the only Star to hit above .300 besides Furuki. He went 1 for 4 and is batting .324. Smith went 2 for 4.
Devon Ramirez went 6 1/3 innings for the win. The left-hander allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks. Brian Escanio pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, and Tony York took care of the ninth with two strikeouts.
Vogt turned in a quality start with six innings of two-run ball. But Steinert got stuck with the loss due to Vallejo’s sloppy defense. In his one inning of misfortune, he yielded six runs (only one earned) on five hits and a walk.
The series continues at 4 p.m. today HST.
Stars 100 000 700 — 8 8 3
Admirals 002 100 100 — 4 8 6