The Hillsboro Hops got back on the winning track with a familiar course for them lately. Tonight’s one-run walk-off win came against the Boise Hawks in the tenth inning when Jorge Perez singled. Walking up to the plate, Jorge sent the two RBI, game-winning single that brought home Jake McCarthy home to tie the game and Jose Caballero for the win.
That makes three of the last five games played to be last minute wins for the home crowd. Last Friday, the Hops beat the Tri City Dust Devils 5-4 in ten innings. Saturday, it was the Hops over the Dust Devils 7-6 in eleven innings. Then, a brief interlude of two losses. Sunday was a good-bye present to Tri City, 6-2, before they left town. Monday’s second loss in a row was a welcome gift to the Boise Hawks, 3-2, shortly after they arrived. Tuesday, the Hops got back to business and are now on the winning track again. Just in time for the end of the first half.
First Half Crown Nears
With seven games to go, the Hops are four games ahead of the second place Boise Hawks. Hillsboro’s magic number is now three. A win tomorrow night against the same foe, Boise, will reduce that number to one. Then, any win by Hillsboro or loss by Boise in the six games following will crown the Hops as the first half champion. If they accomplish that, the Hillsboro Hops will tie the league record with five consecutive years of making the playoffs.
But, it was the heroes tonight that brought the Hops one step closer to their goal. For eight innings, the Hops tried and failed to score a single run. The Hawks built up their run total bit by bit trying to make it to the final inning where they could close down the host team. Come the bottom of the ninth, with the Hawks ahead 3-0, the Hops had three more outs worth of chances to do something about it.
It started with two outs and the Hops down to their last chance to make a difference. Keyshawn Lynch doubled and came home on Andy Yerzy’s RBI single. Zach Hoffpauir pinch ran for Yerzy and watched from second base as Joey Rose smacked his two-run homer over the left field fence. The game was tied.
Boise then put two more runs on the board in the top of the tenth. Terrin Vavda singled home Cole Anderson and Matt Hearn. Could the Hops do it again? Was there any gas in the tank? Again, the Hops had their last three outs to find out.
Jorge Perez Completes Comeback
Ryan Tufts stepped up to the plate to pinch hit for Dan Swain. Ryan’s single quickly brought home Francis Martinez from third. Jose Caballero took Tufts place on the bases and Ryan January was intentionally walked to load the bases. Jorge Perez came to the plate to knock in his game winning single. Game over.
Ethan Larrison (W, 3-0) came on the mound in the eleventh to earn the last second win. Colton Pate came at the same time to try and earn the save. Instead, he got his first blown save (BS-1) and was saddled with his first loss (1-1) of the season.
The Hops bats were working all night but not with any success until late. Gathering eleven hits on the night, the Hops also managed to strand 13 runners on base. Five starters counted two hits on their stat column, including Jorge Perez with a double and the winning single. Two others had one hit. Joey Rose had one of those hits, his ninth inning home run tying the game.
Like the Hops, the Hawks also had eleven hits with no batter having no more than two and several with jut one. Daniel Jipping went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBI.
Tonight was also night three of Los Lupulos Del Hillsboro, a celebration of the Latino fans and culture. Read about it and see the last two nights of the celebration before the end of the season.