The night filled with clutch play and never-say-die attitude on both sides. Stepping up, Andy Yerzy was one of the leaders as the Hillsboro Hops defeated the Volcanoes, 6-5. But, don’t consider his teammates as waiting for someone else to make the first move. When needed, several Hops took the lead. On the night, Hillsboro needed the complete effort of all hands. The first hurdle: three runs S-K scored in the top of the first.
The tone was set quickly by the Hops first batter of the game. Center fielder Tra Holmes smacked a home run over the left field fence. Quickly, the lead shrunk by two. Two innings later, Andy Yerzy smashed a deep fly ball over the right field fence in the third inning. There was little doubt. As the crowd cheered, the ball tracked at 396 feet. Just like that, the Hops were within one run.
But, Salem-Keizer had a couple of answers. In the fourth inning, Ricardo Genoves scored on Kevin Rivera’s single down the third base line. Jose Caballero’s diving glove couldn’t stop it. Mikey Edie scored from second when Trevor Abrams drove a line drive to right field in the fifth. Just as easily, the lead was back up to three, 5-2.
“Down three, we knew it was easy to catch up.” Andy Yerzy said about his teammates. “We felt in control the entire time.” It was confidence shared by the entire team. Looking forward, no one dropped their head. Together, they stayed upbeat and supportive of each other.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Hops crept back. Andy Yerzy was at the plate with runners on the corners. While attention focused on Tra Holmes on third and Andy at the plate, Ryan January stole second. . In turn, the stolen base distracted catcher Genoves. A passed ball bounced off of Genoves’ glove and went to the back stop. In the confusion, Tra scored from Third. After the fun and excitement, Andy shot a single through the infield and brought January home.
In the bottom of the seventh, all the hard work paid off. Ryan Dobson and Ryan January walked. Following them, Andy Yerzy was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded. The stage was set for Jose Caballero. With a 2-2 count, Jose sharply drove a line drive into left field. Quickly, Dobson and January came home. Dobson’s score tied the game for the first time since the game began. January’s score gave the Hops their first lead of the night.
All of this happened in just seconds. But, it took several innings to build up. It took a team that believed in itself. “We feed off of each other.” Andy said. “Everybody has equal energy.” The previous night, the Hops were a juggernaut as they beat the S-K Volcanoes 12-2. (Read recap here.) Tonight, the team continued fighting.
Andy Yerzy held a bat four times. Andy safely touched first base all four times. He hit two singles, a solo shot in the third and took one for the team (hit by pitch). But Andy did not do it alone. Tra Holmes singled and scored twice. Making a statement,Tra shot across the bow of the Volcanoes’ ship in the first inning. The solo blast reminded the visiting team that their host wasn’t going away soon. At least, not until Jose Caballero would bring home the tying and winning run.
“We’ve only spent two weeks together but we’re a pretty tight team.” Andy confessed. It is a sign of good chemistry. They are a group of young men who are determined. If you want to read more about Andy’s thoughts, including thoughts from Ryan January and Trevor McKenna, check out my 2018 season preview.
The win raised the Hillsboro Hops into a second place tie with the Boise Hawks. Close behind, the two teams are one game behind the Southern Division leading Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Hillsboro won the series, 2-1. The Hops will go on the road for a three game series at Boise. Probable starters are Lane Ratliff (0-0) for Hillsboro and Nick Bush (0-0) for Boise.
Los Lupulos (The Hops) notes:
Tonight was Hillsboro’s first night as Los Lupulos de Hillsboro. It was part of a national initiative to celebrate the Hispanic community. Read about the next four nights of Los Lupulos and how you can attend.