The Hillsboro Hops launched hit after hit against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and the Hops pitching kept the visiting team from not doing much more than watch the fireworks as they beat they southern rivals 11-2. Newcomer Dan Swain had more than announced his arrival before this game but if there was one person who had not heard his name yet, they know it now.
Lift-off was in the first inning when Swain rocketed a blast over the left field fence with Ryan Dobson on board at second base. Daulton Varsho added another run in the second through hustle. Varsho led off the inning with a single and then stole second before achieving third base on a wild throw by pitcher Julio Benitez. A Connor Owings ground-out allowed Varsho to score. It would be the third inning when the Hops achieved orbit.
Six runs came across the plate with the Hops batting round the order plus one batter. Amazingly, the Hops accomplished all of that on just three singles. What helped them were Ryan Dobson leading off the inning being hit by a pitch from Benitez, four wild pitches (three by relief pitcher John Timmins), along with Drew Ellis, Daulton Varsho and Tra’Mayne Holmes drawing walks.
Both teams would trade single runs in the fourth and eighth for the final score.
Tyler Keele (W, 4-4) started and commanded the game for six innings, keeping the Volcanoes down to one run on two hits. After that it was a team effort from Juan Torress, Jose Martinez, Erbert Gonzalez and Kevin Ginkel to limit the road team to another one run on two hits over the last three innings.
Julio Benitez (L, 1-3) started and was chased in the third with the score 5-0, Dan Swain on base with one out. Swain would later score to put Benitez on the hook for six runs on five hits and the loss.
Hops bats scored eleven runs on only ten hits. Dan Swain led the way going 3 for 4 with five RBI to go along with his homer. Ryan Dobson and Luis Lara also had multi-hit games. Dobson scored thrice.
The win lifted the Hillsboro Hops (7-6) into sole possession of first place, one game over the Eugene Emeralds. The loss dropped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (5-8) into a third-place tie with the Boise Hawks two games behind.
Both teams return to Ron Tonkin Field Wednesday for the second game of the three-game series. Expected pitcher for the Hops will be RHP Tyler Vail (0-1). The starting pitcher for Salem-Keizer is yet to be determined.
The night will feature Oregon Trail night hosted by the Oregon Historical Society. Along the concourse will be an interactive exhibit where kids will be able to make decisions along the trail just like the original pioneers. The Picnic Pavillion will converted into a wine-tasting bar for those 21 and over.
Following that on Thursday will be the fan favorite Harry Potter night where Ron Tonkin Field will be transformed into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The night will feature a costume contest, quidditch games and broom races.
Hops Photos by Craig Mitchelldyer-Hillsboro Hops
By Greg Stoker