The Boise Hawks doubled down on the Hillsboro Hops in the tenth inning when Hawks Aubrey McCarty and Hidekel Gonzalez notched two runs on the board with back to back doubles. Daniel Jipping started the inning at second base and scored the first run. The win gave the visiting team the three-game series at 2-1 over the Hillsboro Hops, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
For the first eight innings, it seemed that a platoon of pitchers would make runs and hits scarce. Both teams scored one run apiece in the third inning. For the Hawks, Matt Hearn walked, stole second, stole third and came home on Luis Castro’s sacrifice fly. Hearn is leading the league with a fantastic .407 batting average. For the Hops, Tra Holmes mirrored Hearn’s effort with a single to left, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on shortstop Terrin Vavra’s throwing error.
After the mini scoring splurge, the game settled down to the very quiet pitching staff of both teams. Six hurlers for each team controlled the game until the bats woke up again in the bottom of the eighth inning. Then, they wouldn’t stop until the game finished.
Bats Wake Up At End
Hillsboro started first by scoring their second run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jose Caballero singled and went to second on left fielder Aubrey McCarty’s fielding error. Designated hitter, Andy Yerzy helped complete Caballero’s journey home with a single to right and Jose scored from second.
That left the Boise Hawks with one last chance. Three outs to change the outcome. It didn’t take them long to make a statement. To lead off the inning, Luis Castro sent a 421 foot blast over the left-center field fence. The Hops failed to score in their half of the inning and the game went to extra innings.
Daniel Jipping Reaches Home
Remembering the Hops history of walk offs, the Hawks knew they had to strike. Boise did just that with the back to back doubles, scoring Daniel Jipping. It was a moment of redemption for Daniel Jipping. Up to that point, Daniel struck out four times. But, Daniel proved it is never too late to make a difference and crossed the plate for the go ahead and winning run.
For that, the Hops had no answer. Hillsboro did manage three base runners but were done in by a runner caught stealing third, a strike out and a pop up in foul territory to first baseman Luis Castro.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (22-11) to a three game lead over the second place Boise Hawks (19-14). The Hawks have five games to make up the difference. If tied, first tie breaker is head to head matchup. Both team split the first half series 3-3.
The second tiebreaker is record within the division which won’t affect either team. Both teams sit at 10-8 in their Southern Division. Hillsboro travels to the Northern Division Vancouver Canadians and Boise hosts the Northern Division Everett Aquasox to end the first half.
The third tiebreaker solves the quandary if both teams end with the same record. That is run differential in head to head matchups. The Hops took that outscoring the Hawks 32-22 over their six games leaving Hillsboro with the tiebreaker.
What that means is Hillsboro has five games against Vancouver to win just one game with their three-game lead to clinch the first half crown. If by some long odds chance, the Hops lose those five games, Boise has five chances to lose just one game and hand the Hops the crown.
It’s too early to celebrate just yet but it is looking good for the Hops.
2013 Hops Alumni Daniel Palka has made a home in the starting line up for the Chicago White Sox. Recently, Daniel smacked eleven home runs in 213 At Bats for the American League team. Read about Daniel and other Hops Alumni in the major leagues.