For most of the game, both teams held the bats down despite minor threats to cross the plate. But, for one inning, the Hillsboro Hops exploded for four runs and took the game home over the Boise Hawks 4-0.
The bottom of the third started with a portent of things changing. Adam Walton led off with a single to right and moved to second on a balk by Hawks starting pitcher Breiling Eusebio. Chad Oberacker singled up the middle and Walton sped around the bases for the games first score. Stephen Smith and Josh Anderson both singled to load the bases. Ramon Hernandez sent a sacrifice deep to left to score Oberacker. Luke Lowry singled Smith home. After Marcus Wilson walked to load the bases again, Mark Karaviotis grounded into a fielder’s choice but it was enough to score Anderson. The dust settled and the Hops were up 4-0.
The score would hold for the rest of the game due in large part to the pitching staff. Bo Takahashi (W, 1-0) started his third game for Hillsboro and finally was allowed to keep a decision after the final out. In his previous two starts, Takahashi left the mound both times with the opponent held scoreless but the score did not hold up. Tonight it did. Takahashi went five innings limiting the Hawks to only two hits. Amazingly, after three games and almost twelve innings, no one has been able to score against the young pitcher out of Brazil temporarily sent down to Hillsboro on a rehab assignment.
Palmer Betts (S, 1) was the only other pitcher the Hops needed to keep zeroes on the board for the Hawks. Betts went the final four innings giving up only one hit and struck out four for the save.
In all, Boise only managed three hits on the night. Despite the limited offense, the Hawks did threaten in the very first inning. After two outs, Jacob Bosiokovic singled and Willie Abreu got on base due to an error. When Bobby Stahel walked the bases were loaded with two outs and the Hawks were threatening to take an early command of the game. Bo Takahashi rose to the occasion and struck out Luis Castro swinging for the final out with all three runners looking on. Except for an Abreu single in the sixth and a Daniel Suero double in the second, no other Hawks batters reached base.
The Hops batters never had more than one hit per person but they made them count. Seven of the nine starters hit a single as no one had an extra base hit.
Breiling Eusebio started the game for the Hawks and lasted until the fourth inning when he was pulled with runners on first and second with one out. Alec Kenilvort, George Thanopoulis and Justin Lawrence covered the rest of the game limiting the Hops to only one more hit on the night.
The Hillsboro Hops (2-0) sit alone at the top of the South Division early in the second half. They now have a one game lead over Eugene and Salem-Keizer. The Boise Hawks (0-2) fell to two games behind with the loss. With the Hops leading the three game series 2-0, both teams will meet Thursday night at Ron Tonkin Field for the third and final game of the series. The night will be a special remembrance of the Portland Beavers AAA club that played in the region off and on from 1903-2010. Players will wear uniforms similar to the ones worn by the Beavers in 1956. A few replica jerseys will be auctioned off during the game. Game starts at 7:05 pm. LHP Anfernee Benitez (2-4) of the Hops will face RHP Antonio Santos (1-4) of the Hawks.
By Greg Stoker