It was dizzying really, a blur of an eighth inning. Walk, walk, pitching change, error, strike out, hit by pitch, single, single, triple, error, pitching change.
When the dust finally cleared and Vancouvers 6-foot-6 first baseman Art Charles kicked up plenty when he slid into third base with a triple, then scored when the ball ended up in the dugout the Boise Hawks hopes for a sixth Northwest League championship had vanished.
Just like that, it was gone.
The lead. The title. The season.
The Hawks were out of rallies.
Having engineered a midseason turnaround (from 13-25 in the first half to a league-best 24-14 in the second), having rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the East Divisional Series against Yakima, having erased a 1-0 deficit against Vancouver to force Sundays Game 3 by twice coming from behind and having already come back in Game 3 from two early deficits, Boise had run out of miracles.
That they were here at all still alive on the final night of the season, playing for a title at home against the defending Northwest League champs was just as improbable as the Canadians seven-run outburst.
It started with the addition of Dan Vogelbach on the first day of the second half of the season. The portly first baseman/designated hitter changed the Hawks clubhouse persona and started mashing home runs, including eight in his first 17 games with Boise.
It was like a light switch turned on when he walked in, Boise manager Mark Johnson said in August. Hes all about winning and he has a very infectious personality that carries throughout the clubhouse.
A Florida native, Vogelbach was the Cubs second-round pick in 2011. He signed for $1.6 million, spurning a commitment to Florida. And from the moment he walked in the Boise clubhouse, the 6-foot, 250-pounder delivered a no-nonsense and winning message.
All I try to do is keep a positive attitude, Vogelbach said.
Vogelbach very nearly made good on his we-will-win approach Sunday. He entered Game 3 batting just .118 in five playoff games. Pressing, he said. But Vogelbach delivered the games first big hit in the first inning.
Vancouver starter Taylor Cole had not allowed a home run all season, a stretch of 72[0xb7] innings, and the right-hander had barely been scored upon.
So when the Canadians took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first Sunday, it seemed like it might be all Vancouver needed.
Then Vogelbach sent that notion over the center field wall. His three-run blast banged off the batters eye in straight away center, just beyond the outfield wall 400 feet away.
When we needed him most, he was there, Johnson said.
In the fourth inning, Vogelbach again gave the Hawks the lead. He laced an 0-2 pitch the opposite way, singling to left field and scoring Gioskar Amaya with Boises sixth run.
I thought we had it, Vogelbach said.
It looked as if it would be enough.
Enough for the Hawks to be the ones dancing around Memorial Stadium, taking pictures and celebrating, handing out backslaps and hugs.
And then it all disappeared.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph