Hillsboro Hops jumped out of the first inning with two scores and held on for a nail-biter in a 2-0 win over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. After that, the game turned into a pitcher’s duel filled with strikeouts and, for the most part, fine defensive play.
Before the first out of the game, the Hops were already on the scoreboard. Camden Duzenack led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Ryan Grotjohn’s single through the right gap. Luis Lara stepped up to the plate and smacked a single into right scoring Duzenack.
After that was a bit of foreshadowing of how the game would continue the rest of the way. Instead of a second easy score, Grotjohn came home on the game’s first out – a groundout by Dan Swain.
That would be the end of the scoring for the night though no one expected it as there were still 53 outs left to be played.
The pitching was the real story of the night. Starting with (literally) Hops starter Brian Shaffer, the Hops started their breeze through the Volcanoes Stadium. Going three innings, Shaffer allowed just one hit, a Bryce Johnson single with one out in the first, and the beginning of a shut-out.
Coming on in the fourth and lasting the rest of the way, going six innings, was Keven McCanna (W, 3-1) who allowed the other Volcano’s hit — a two out single by Logan Baldwin in the bottom of the ninth. If McCanna had added Baldwin to his strike out list of seven other S-K plate appearances, Kevin would have had a six-inning no-hitter. But, Kevin did walk away with the win.
In opposition was a rare pitching performance by Volcano pitcher Julio Benitez (L, 1-5). Not only did Julio start the game for the home team, but he also finished it in a complete game performance that could have easily been a winner on most other nights. In an economic 92-pitch performance, Benitez faced 34 batters, seven above the minimum.
Hops batters scrounged up six hits on the night. Grotjohn had the game’s only multi-hit performance smacking a third of his team’s safe passages to base. Ryan Dobson clobbered a double with two outs in the second for the game’s only extra base hit. Dan Swain and Daulton Varsho had the other two Hops hits.
The Hillsboro Hops’ (12-13) win kept pace with the Boise Hawks, tied on top of the Southern Division. The loss dropped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (11-14) to second place, one game behind the co-leaders. The Hops evened up the four-game series 1-1.
Both teams return to Volcano Stadium Monday morning for a rare 9:30 am start. The reason is the total eclipse talked about world-wide finally arriving. The host Volcanoes have been preparing for it since earlier this year. Festivities will start at six in the morning with a breakfast for fans. At 6:30, talks every half hour will be given by a representative from NASA until the game’s start.
It is expected for the game to last one full inning before the world’s first eclipse delay of a baseball game. The game will take a momentary break for the darkness. The game will resume once the sun returns to its normal brightness.
By Greg Stoker