Boise Hawks, Ethan Westphal Smoke Hillsboro Hops, 3-2
The Boise Hawks defeated the Hillsboro Hops 3-2 on a night where the game took second place to the forest fires burning several miles away. In the fourth inning, with sunlight remaining, smoke was becoming visible past center field within sight of those attending the game. As the sky darkened with the coming night, flames erupted in the Boise foothills and sirens were heard as emergency response teams answered throughout the evening.
The fire grew to about 200 acres by 3 am and was contained by Saturday morning. Cause is not yet known but the Boise Fire Department believes it be “human caused.” Five different fire departments responded along with the BLM and National Guard.
The fires mirrored the intensity of the game in a near-playoff atmosphere as Boise was trying to stay alive and win the second half crown to make the playoffs, two short games away. The Hops are trying to win the second half crown to go along with their first half championship.
Pitching ruled the night as the Hops were limited to six hits on the night. A bigger problem was the Hops stranding eleven base runners but only four of them reached scoring position. Hillsboro also hit into two double plays on the night that eliminated scoring opportunities.
Jhoan Duran (L, 6-3) started the game. Duran is currently tied for the team lead in wins with former Hops pitcher Connor Grey but tonight did nothing to help increase his win total. In two short innings, Duran was tabbed for two runs (both earned) on only one hit but the scoring was aided by three walks. By then, 39 pitches after the start of the game, Luis Castillo came on and pitched well into the fifth inning.
Castillo ran into trouble of his own on a night where one run could and did make the difference in a very tight ball game. With one out, Luis allowed a single to be followed by two walks. After Sean Bouchard sacrificed Jose G. Rodriguez home for Boise’s third score of the game, Castillo loaded the bases again when his pitch hit Danny Edgeworth.
It was time for Kevin Ginkel to come in and put out the fire. He quickly struck out Luis Castro to end the inning. Kevin stayed for three more innings to close out the game, keeping Boise hitless as well as scoreless. Facing ten batters, Kevin struck out six batters while facing the minimum plate appearances.
But, Ginkel’s fire-dowsing was not enough as the Hops failed to score again in the game.
Pearson McMahon started for Boise and allowed only one hit over 3.2 innings. Unfortunately for McMahon, that one hit was Camden Duzenack’s solo home run in the third bringing the Hops closer at 2-1. Ethan Westphal (W, 4-3) was the pitcher of record after five innings allowing one hit and striking out three. Mike Bunal (S, 7) closed out the final two innings for the save.
With the Hillsboro Hops’ (18-18) loss coupled with the Boise Hawks’ (17-19) win, the Hops’ lead shrank in the Southern Division to one game with two more left to play. Eugene joined Boise, tied for second place, with a win of their own. The final two games will be played on Saturday and Sunday and will mark the end of the second half. The expected pitcher for the Hawks on Saturday is LHP Keinter Olivares (3-2). The Hops pitcher is yet to be determined.
Hops notes: Hops pitcher Tyler Badamo was promoted to the Jacksonville Generals, the AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and quickly returned to the Hops the next day. Badamo was called up for a quick start of that night’s game and went six innings in the no decision. Tyler allowed five runs on ten hits, one of them a home run in the first inning by Andrew Ely. Badamo also struck out ten batters. Tyler got to make two plate appearances in the game that did not feature a designated hitter but failed to get a hit. The Generals won the game 8-7.
By Greg Stoker