The bats of the Hillsboro Hops powered the early start and left too big of a mountain for the Vancouver Canadians to climb, 6-3. The hot bat of Andy Yerzy started it with his RBI single knocking in lead-off hitter Tra Holmes. After Andy came home on Francis Martinez’ RBI single, the Hops were well on their way to end the first half with another win.
Clinching Playoff Spot
The first half ended with the Hops finishing with the best record in the league at 24-14. The Boise Hawks not only finished with the second best record in the Southern Division behind the Hops, but the second best in the league as well at 21-17, three games behind. The first half started as normal for the Hops with a slow start and soon finding themselves in last place. But, like every other year, the Hops would wake up before the half was done and eventually found themselves in first place when the first half dust settled.
The different this year is the amount of time it took the team this year. Normally, the wait for winning streaks take longer. This time was a short turn around. Instead of finding their way later, the Hops took immediate action and did not stay in the cellar for very long. Soon, the Hops were inching their way up the ladder, stepping past third, second and finally into first place.
Seasons Of Habit
The fact that they made it there was not a surprise. The Hops have won the first half every year since 2014. Three of those years, the Hops won the second half as well. A feat that the team has accomplished over the years with an ever changing line up and sometimes new coaches as well.
One of the reasons is the Arizona Diamondbacks sending the Hops some of their best draft choices every year. But, every team does the same as well. Whatever the secret, the other teams are trying to solve it as well.
However, for tonight, the reasons shared between the bats and the pitches. While the bats set the standard in the first three innings, the pitching was setting the standard for the first five. Matt Mercer started for the Hops and, in limited innings, pitched a couple of one-hit, no score innings. Ryan Miller (W, 1-0) pitched a ten-pitch third inning (seven of them for strikes) to induce three ground outs in a three up-three down short inning for the win. Josh Green (S, 4) came on midway through the seventh inning and stayed to the end for the save.
Andy Yerzy 3 for 3
Furthermore, the Hops bats contributed their share with 14 hits. Along with Andy Yerzy’s 3 for 3 night, Tra Holmes, Joey Rose and Francis Martinez added two hits apiece for the total. It was a night where everyone on the Hops roster got at least one hit. With three doubles (Tra Holmes, Joey Rose with two) and Jorge Perez’ triple, the only thing that was missing was a home run. Turns out, they didn’t need one.
Tuesday night, the Hops return home for a three game series hosting the Boise Hawks coinciding with the ever popular Geek Week. Tuesday night will feature Star Wars, Wednesday will honor your favorite comic book heroes and Thursday will celebrate Harry Potter.
The newly crowned CWS champions made an appearance last Monday at Ron Tonkin Field., throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Click on the above link to read about them.