Despite Jose Caballero’s stand at the plate, the Hillsboro Hops fizzled when it counted most: the endgame, losing to the Vancouver Canadians 3-2. Known for their comeback wins and walk-off endings, the Hops just did not have it this time round.
The win kept the Canadians’ playoff hopes alive, closing in on the Northern Division leading Everett Aquasox. The gap has now closed to just one game between the two teams. The Tri City Dust Devils also remain in the picture at two games behind but their magic number is now reduced to one. The Hops clinched the Southern Division crown Friday locking them into the playoffs.
Jose Caballero Pounds Plate
The Hops star at the plate turned out to be Jose Caballeros. Going 2 for 3, the Hillsboro shortstop sent a solo blast over the left field fence for the Hops second and last score of the night. It turned out to be the Hops only extra base hit.
Hops bats were limited to five hits. Jose Caballero added a single in the first inning but stayed stranded on second. Jake McCarthy added his single the fourth before parking at second for the inning. Zach Hoffpauir led off the fifth with a single of his own. In the seventh, Zachary Jones singled with two outs. The Hops Just could not string enough base runners together.
You can blame it on the pitching as Vancouver kept them home at the plate, in part by striking out nine batters and only walking one. Jose Espada started for the Canadians and kept the Hops down to two runs over six innings. Espada threw an economy of pitches at 78 with 51 counting as strikes.
But, Jose left the mound with the game tied. So, Justin Watts (W, 3-0) relieved for the win, being the pitcher of record when the Canadians went ahead for good. Cobi Johnson (S, 4) followed for the save. Both pitchers kept the Hops scoreless and allowed them one hit with which to work.
Hops pitchers did well on the mound, the difference being eight hits to the Hops five and three strike outs to the Canadians nine. Ryan Weiss started for the Hops and pitched two scoreless innings on limited duty. Kenny Hernandez took the meat of the innings going almost five but also gave up the two runs that tied the game. Ethan Larrison took his first loss of the season giving up Otto Lopez’ double in the bottom of the eighth and eventually scoring on a groundout.
Brett Wright Answers Back
In contrast, the Vancouver bats came through more often for the home team. Brett Wright matched Jose Caballeros’ home run in the third. Afterwards was what the Hops could not do. Vinny Capra followed with a single. Yorman Rodriguez doubled Capra home adding up to three hits in one inning.
Both teams have two games remaining in the first half. Today, the Hops start at 1 PM and then Monday night at 7 PM. After three games, the Vancouver Canadians lead the series 2-1. Hillsboro plans to put Matt Tabor (1-1) on the mound. Vancouver’s starting pitcher is yet to be determined.
The Beavers showed up last Monday to celebrate their CWS Championship trophy with the Hops fans. Kevin Abel threw out the first pitch. Kevin pitched a complete game 3 to win the CWS, allowing just two hits. Kyle Nobach (in orange) stands behind holding the CWS trophy.