Alexis Olmeda Homers Twice; Hillsboro Hops Down Everett AquaSox, 7-5
Another night and another set of heroes for the Hillsboro Hops as they come from behind to take the win from the Everett AquaSox, 7-5. In the eighth inning, with the score tied 5-5, Alexis Olmeda stepped up to the plate with Stephen Smith on at first from a throwing error. Olmeda’s response was to send the pitch sailing over the left-center field fence for his second home run of the night along with what would become the winning run and RBI.
Everett set an early tone of a different sort by scoring five runs in the first inning alone and taking a five run lead. Ketel Marte’s solo homer, plus Eric Filia, Nick Thurman and Dimas Ojeda’s doubles led a barrage of AquaSox hitters to stake the early lead for the Hops to climb against. It was the last time Everett scored on the night.
Bit by bit, the Hops’ bats chipped away at the increasingly shrinking lead. In the second, Alexis Olmeda slammed his first homer of the night over the right-center field fence with Stephen Smith on board from a walk. An event that the two Hops players repeated for the go ahead score in the eighth. For the third, Ben DeLuzio tripled and came home on Mark Karaviotis’ sacrifice fly.
The Hops bats stayed quiet for a few innings with the score at 5-3 and then erupted again in the sixth. Alexis Olmeda again came to the rescue when he and Luis Veras reached base on consecutive singles. Followed with consecutive wild pitches, Olmeda came home. In the seventh, Josh Anderson tied the game with a solo homer over the right center field fence.
As a team, the Hops garnered 10 hits and four of them were for extra bases. Alexis Olmeda shined with the MVP-like effort of going 3 for 5 with three scores, two home runs and four RBIs. Also with multiple hit games were Josh Anderson (2 for 5) who had the solo homer in the seventh and Ben DeLuzio (3 for 5) who tripled and scored. Luis Veras and Adam Walton also singled.
Wei-Chei Huang started for the Hops and was chased before the first inning was finished. Huang allowed all five AquaSox runs on three hits and two walks. Anfernee Benitez relieved Huang with two outs and a man on first and second. Dimas Ojeda doubled both runners home before Benitez got Austin Grebeck to ground out and end the inning. After that, Benitez (W, 4-4) cruised all the way through the seventh for the win, keeping the AquaSox off the score board with only two hits spread out over 6 and 1/3 innings. Curtis Taylor pitched a hitless eighth and Jake Winston (S, 4) came on to close the ninth with no runs and one hit for his team leading fourth save of the season.
Elliott Surrey (L, 1-2) allowed Olmeda’s second home run for the loss.
Everett bats managed only six hits for the night, four of them in the first inning. Dimas Ojeda had the only multiple hit night for the AquaSox going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI. Ketel Marte homered in the first for his one hit. Eric Filia and Nick Thurman doubled and Kristian Brito singled.
The win increased the Hillsboro Hops’ (6-2) lead in the South Division to three games over Boise, Eugene and Salem-Keizer who are in a three-way tie for second. The loss dropped the Everett AquaSox (5-3) into a first place tie with Spokane in the North Division, one game ahead of Vancouver. Both teams meet again at Everett Memorial Stadium for game three of the five game series on Saturday evening. The Hops lead the series 2-0.
Photography by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig MItchelldyer
by Greg Stoker