The new guys are leading the way. Last Saturday, newcomer Kevin Watson tripled and scored the Hillsboro Hops’ lone run in a 3-1 loss. Monday night, David Garza led off the bottom of the eighth with a home run to give the Hops the late lead and win over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-4. It was a good way to end the regular season.
Power Strikes Back
After the previous game where the visiting Volcanoes showed up with five home runs in a 9-7 loss to the hosting Hops, it was the Hops turn with three of their own. This year’s first round pick Jake McCarthy led off the first inning with a solo shot to right giving the second half champs the first lead of the game 1-0.
The Volcanoes answered back with a two run single by Victor Cairo in the next inning. In stepped William Gorman in the bottom with two outs. Gorman’s solo shot followed McCarthy’s over the right field fence to tie the game. But, Salem-Keizer took the lead again in the fourth with Dalton Combs two run homer following Wander Franco’s double, 4-2.
Hops Roar – David Garza Seizes Lead
The see-saw continued to rock back and forth in the fifth and sixth as the Hops tied it up again. Keyshawn Lynch doubled and came home on Dan Swain’s RBI single in the fifth. In the sixth, Ryan January singled and scored on Joey Rose’s RBI double to tie the game at 4-4.
Then the new guy spoke. Like Kevin Watson, David Garza joined the Hops in Boise in the last road trip of the season. Promoted from the AZL D-backs, Garza has gone with his first impression of going 3 for 10, including last night’s game. The Tennessee Tech alum was this year’s draft choice for the Diamondbacks out of the 38th round. His statement was the game winner to end the season.
Yeison Santana started the game for the Hops but left after facing three batters in the fourth and giving up all four runs for the Volcanoes. The last six innings turned out to be another masterpiece by the bullpen. Wesley Rodriguez, Justin Garcia and Trevor McKenna mowed down the opposing batters allowing just two hits and walking none. Ricardo Genoves’ singles in the fifth and the eighth were the hits and Genoves was the only base runner allowed after the fourth.
Justin Garcia (W, 3-1) struck out three for the win and Trevor McKenna (S, 3) pitched a three up and three down ninth for the save. The Volcanoes’ Trevor Horn (L, 0-1) gave up the David Garza homer for the loss.
Hops batters sent twelve hits flying including two doubles and spread the hits evenly among the crew. Only Jake McCarthy and Jorge Perez had two hits on the night. But, the night’s hits had enough power to win a close one.
Franchise Best Record
The Hillsboro Hops end the season with the best record in franchise history. The second half ended with a 27-11 record and the championship. The first half ended with a 24-14 record and the championship. Overall, the team with the best record in the minor leagues this year blistered the standings with a franchise record 51-25 record. At the moment, the Boston Red Sox (.683) is the only major league team with a better winning percentage than the Hillsboro Hops (.671). And the Sox are only 5-5 in their last ten games so that may not last through the month as the regular MLB season winds down.
Now that the regular season is over, the playoffs start Wednesday with a road game down in the Eugene at PK Park. The Hops return home for a game Thursday night and another one Friday if needed. Before the season, I had a chance to talk to the players and their expectations of the 2018 season. Looking back, it might seem a little prophetic. Check it out.