Hillsboro Hops, LT Tolbert Escape Boise 5-4 in 10th
The new guy did it. New to the Hops, LT Tolbert arrived on a plane to join his new team in Hillsboro earlier in the day. Little did anyone know, LT would be the key in dispatching the Boise Hawks in a walk-off win that evening. In the bottom of the tenth, Lt stepped up to the plate with two men on, one run behind and two outs. LT sent the game winning single up the middle bringing Keyshawn Lynch and Jorge Perez home.
It had been a while since the Hops enjoyed a walk-off win. A long time ago, the Hops couldn’t win any other way, winning game after game at the last moment. Or, so it seemed. It was actually only a week or two. The stretch of the last ten games ended a season and has at least started a new one. The cycle may be returning to the top.
Joey Rose Homers
This game had at least three different shades to its identity. The Hops opened up with the power game in the first when Jose Caballero sent a one bounce line drive to Hawks right fielder Cade Harris. Before Harris could field and throw, Jose stretched the long single into a double. Joey Rose followed with a 344 foot two run blast over the left-center field fence.
The taste of power was quickly replaced by the touch of spin coming toward the plate. Jackson Goddard started for the Hops and pitched shutout ball for two innings, limited by pitch count. Franklyn Soriano followed with three more scoreless innings keeping the visiting Hawks locked out at the plate.
Hops Bats Silenced
On the other side. Boise starter Alec Byrd quickly regained control after Joey Rose’s homer and went six innings without another score. Both teams were shut down from the scoreboard. The game took on the character of a pitcher’s duel. The “2” on the scoreboard increasingly became harder to see among the sea of zeroes mounting.
Boise came back first when Cole Anderson homered to left field. The Hawks were finally on the scoreboard and starting to wake up. Mike Bunal came to the mound in relief to keep the Hops scoreless during his reign. Still the Hops wood remained silent. In the eighth, Boise finally caught up and went ahead with two more runs when two sacrifice flies helped Hidekel Gonzalez and Kennard McDowell cross the plate.
Hops Come Back
The Hops entered the bottom of the ninth down one and this time they answered the challenge. But, they needed a little luck. Francis Martinez singled to right to get on base. Then, the luck stepped into the game. Jake McCarthy popped up to behind first base. Normally an easy out, the ball drifted back and forth, fair to foul and back again, while second baseman Kennard McDowell wavered back and forth trying to stay under it. When the ball returned to Earth, fair, missing a glove on the way, Jake had time to make second base while Francis ran all around the bases from first to home, tying the game.
LT Tolbert Makes First Impression
After Boise took the lead again in the tenth, the stage was set for the heroics by LT Tolbert and his walk-off single. It was something out of a movie script. At seven in the morning, LT Tolbert boarded a plane to come to Hillsboro. A 13th round draft pick in this year’s draft, Tolbert found himself in a Hops uniform that evening hitting the game winner.
Kai-Wei Lin (W, 2-1) was the pitcher of record to earn the win. Jefry Valdez (L, 1-1) gave up the game winning single for the loss.
With the Hillsboro Hops (1-1) win and the Boise Hawks (1-1) loss, all four teams of the Southern Division came back together for a four-way tie in the young second half. Both teams return Thursday for the final game in the series, which is now tied at 1-1.