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T'jacks outlast Indians

For the 2,472 fans that showed up at Miles Field anticipating a pyrotechnic display following Saturday night's Northwest League tilt between the Southern Oregon Timberjacks and the Spokane Indians, the fireworks turned out to be anticlimactic.

Before the first artificial firework was shot up into the sky just after 10:45 p.m., the Indians and the Timberjacks lit up the sky with with a man-made variety of fireworks that had the crowd cheering like the Fourth of July.

After the smoke cleared and dust settled following three hours and 17 action-packed minutes, it was the Timberjacks that fired the final salvo in a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Indians, 9-8.

Kirk Asche's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the difference in a contest filled with one big blow after another.

I just wanted to put the ball in play, said Asche, who paced the T-jacks' 15-hit attack with three of his own. It was a free RBI and I was looking for something up in the zone. I was fortunate to put it in play.

For Southern Oregon manager Greg Sparks, the offensive breakthrough was just what the doctor ordered.

We've been struggling at the plate, Sparks said of his club that improved to 24-18, 4 games in front of second place Portland in the Southern Division standings. It was great to see our players come out of it.

The way things started, it appeared Spokane would run off and hide with the ballgame, as the Indians got things off with a bang with five first inning runs.

Following a walk and two singles, Spokane designated hitter Casey Dunn belting a grand slam home run off Timberjacks' starter Nate Hilton. Before the repercussion of Dunn's blast could pass, center fielder Jarrett Shearin launched a solo homer of his own.

But the Timberjacks' bats, silent on Friday, came alive in the bottom of the first. Following a Mike Lockwood RBI groundout, Asche lit up the sky with a towering two-run homer off Spokane starter Brian Sanches, cutting the lead to 5-3.

The pitch was letter-high, but I was looking off-speed, said Asche. I just reacted to the fastball and got the barrell on it.

Spokane added another run in the second on a Jacob Baker RBI double, but the Timberjacks responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second on a three-run bomb off the bat of catcher Gerald Laird, evening the contest at six.

We were just really relaxed at the plate tonight, said Asche. We just tried to take good approaches to the plate tonight.

Spokane added two more runs in the third to regain a two-run lead on an RBI single from Charlie Ramirez and an RBI double off the bat of Eric Nelson.

The Timberjacks cut the lead to 8-7 in the fourth on Asche's sacrifice fly and eventually tied the game in the sixth inning on a Jeremy Schied RBI single off Indians' reliever Jesse Kurtz-Nicholl.

We never panicked when we got down, said Asche. We've got a good hitting team and it was real early in the game. We knew we had a lot of time left.

Asche's manager echoed his player's sentiment.

That was our kind of game, said Sparks. It seems like we win those types of games. It's the ones we get ahead 2-0 we seem to lose.