With his parents in the crowd, having come in from New York City for his last game, Trapper pitcher Willie Ambos flirted with a no-hitter for 62/3 innings, had a shutout for 81/3 innings and ended up winning a team-record-tying ninth victory Saturday night at Derks Field.
"I guess they love me," said Ambos about parents Carl and Kay, who saw him beat Pocatello 9-3 on a five-hit complete game, his second."But," laughed Ambos, "they told me they changed the locks on the house."
Ambos had a lock on the Giants until, with one out in the seventh, Adam Smith smashed a line drive at Ambos' face and threw his bat halfway to the mound. "It was catch it or die. I opted to choose life," said Ambos, who claimed he wasn't shook by the incident.
He did, however, hit the next batter, Adam Hilpert. "It was 0-2," said Ambos. "I tried to make sure I didn't get beat 0-2, and I like to come up and in."
The next man up, Jack Penrod, lined a clean single into left field to break up the no-hitter.
Manager Barry Moss said the hit wasn't the result of Ambos' near-death incident. "Oh no, he just pitched a little longer than he's used to."
Ambos, whose rhomboid muscle knots up despite between-inning rubdowns by trainer Jeff McFarlane, usually pitches well until the muscle says he can go no longer.
"He pitched the last three innings with his heart. I thought he was about through in the middle of the seventh when his pitches started coming up," Moss said. "I had to leave him in through the no-hitter, then we had a big enough lead to let him get the shutout."
And then, when the shutout was ruined with one out in the ninth, Moss figured he might as well let Ambos get the complete game. However, the ninth man to bat in the inning was the last Moss would have let him face, but Ambos struck him out to end the game.
David Slavin scored the Giants' first run after singling. He was wild-pitched to second and moved to third by an error at second. He scored on Hilpert's hit, and Smith and Hilpert scored on a Bryce Welch single.
The Traps scored four in the fourth and five in the sixth. In the fourth, Zane and Tim McKercher singled to lead it off, and Tommy Boyce and Rick Hurni scored on Marty Peralta's double. In the sixth, Mando Verdugo started it with a single and he and Boyce (walk) scored on an error. Peralta singled, moved to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch. A groundout brought in Ray Karczewski - who'd reached base for the third straight time by an infielder's error - and a Zane single scored Chris Sloniger.
Karczewski was nearly 4 for 4 in errors when his ground ball in the eighth bounced off the Giants' first baseman, but this one was ruled a hit.
Zane and Peralta each had two hits.