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Heriberto a hero for Spokane on Thursday

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Heriberto Hernandez’s home run helped lead Spokane to a win in Game 2 of the NWL Semifinals

Thunderstorms in Saxony Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Spokane Indians beat the Tri-City Dust Devils last night by a score of 5-1, evening the Northwest League Semi-Finals at one game apiece. Tonight the teams will play a winner-take-all game to see who advances to the Finals.

Spokane only registered 5 hits in the game, but two of them were by Heriberto Hernandez, including a 2 run home run that accounted for both of the RBIs in the game for the Indians (the other three runs scored on wild pitches). Hernandez is on quite a run — after slashing .344/.433/.646 with 11 home runs in 50 games in the AZL regular season, then leading the AZL Rangers to the AZL Championship, where he was 5 for 13 with a double, 3 walks and 2 home runs, he slashed .375/.500/.375 with 3 steals in 3 games for Spokane. He has now homered in each of Spokane’s playoff games.

We haven’t really talked much about Hernandez, but he doesn’t turn 20 until December, and has mashed everywhere he has been. He’s listed as a catcher, but seems unlikely to stay at the position long-term — he’s been tried out at first base and the corner outfield spots, but his main attribute is that he hits. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the 2020 season at Hickory.

Teodoro Ortega, a small righthander who came over from Oakland in the Cory Gearrin trade last year, and Billy Layne, Jr., an 11th round pick out of Seton Hall in 2018, each pitched 4+ innings yesterday, with each pitcher allowing 3 hits and 1 walk and each pitcher striking out 3.