Hillsboro Hops Strike Early; Down Spokane Indians 8-1
The Hillsboro Hops took the early lead and added runs often to beat the Spokane Indians, 8-1. The large lead was due in part to the Hops taking advantage of several Indians miscues throughout the night.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Hops were already leading 3-0 when Ben DeLuzio gained first by being hit by a pitch. What followed next was a series of bad luck for Spokane right fielder Chad Smith. Jason Morozowski launched a high fly that Smith lost in the lights just before the ball returned to Earth, bouncing safely between the outfielder and the foul line. Morozowski zoomed around the bases and was heading for third when Smith compounded the mistake by overthrowing the third baseman. The ball bounced into the stands and out of play sending Morozowski home on a triple and an error.
The following play, Chad Smith repeated the mistake when Mark Karaviotis sent another high fly ball his way. Again losing it in the night lights, the ball bounced close to Smith and rebounded off the turf to bounce off of Smith’s face to add insult to injury. When the ball was recovered, Karaviotis was standing up at second base.
The bottom of the seventh also proved to be an unusual inning of which the Hops took advantage. At first, it looked like the inning was going to end quickly. Alexis Olmeda singled and Justin Chigbogu walked but there were already two outs when Manny Jefferson stepped up to the plate. The right handed batter tried to get out of the way of an inside pitch but it clipped him in his upper back near the left shoulder. The impact left Jefferson dazed as manager Shelley Duncan helped escort the injured batter to first. There, the call was made for Adam Walton to pinch run for the hurt second baseman.
That was only the beginning. Now that the bases were loaded, Ben DeLuzio stepped up to the plate only to watch a passed ball score Alexis Olmeda and advance the other two runners. DeLuzio joined them to load the bases when he was hit by a pitch. Chris Dula’s second consecutive hit batter sent him to the showers. Garrett Brummett took the mound only to strike the next batter, Luis Veras, for the third consecutive hit batter and another run scored.
The game was not only filled with plenty of offense for the Hops but some nice defense as well. In the top of the fourth, Charles LeBlanc walked to open the inning. Starting pitcher Tyler Mark then faced Luis Terrero. LeBlanc decided to steal second as Terrero struck out swinging only to be gunned down by Alexis Olmeda for a double play. Chad Smith followed at the plate and hit a sharp single to right field. Smith’s mistake was trying to stretch his single into a double. Right fielder Stephen Smith gunned Smith down to end the inning.
The Indians avoided the shutout by taking advantage of a mistake filled inning by the Hops. In the eighth, Indian Darius Day hit a sharp one hopper that third baseman Josh Anderson cleanly snagged in his glove on an amazing play only to throw over the first baseman’s head. Day went to second on the overthrow. Day then bolted for third on a passed ball by catcher Alexis Olmeda, who threw a strike to third but not in time to get the runner. Leody Tavaris sent a line drive darting to center bringing Day home for the Indians only score of the night.
Starting Hops pitcher Tyler Mark (W, 5-4) pitched six innings of four hit ball for the win. His six strike outs sent him into the league lead with 67 strikeouts, one upping his teammate Anfernee Benitex who has 66 strike outs.
Only two starting batters for the Hops failed to hit safely during the game. Alexis Olmeda went 3 for 5, scored twice and had two RBIs. Josh Anderson upped his batting average to .320 by going 3 for 4, scored, doubled and had an RBI. Anderson is now third in the league race for the batting title behind Everett’s Eric Fila at .328 and Salem-Keizer’s Heath Quinn at .326.
The win gained the Hillsboro Hops (16-10) a game on South Division leading Eugene who lost tonight. The Hops are now two games out of first. The Hops are also on a five game winning streak.
The loss dropped the Spokane Indians to ten games behind North Division leading Everett. The Indians are now on a six game losing streak. Both teams will meet Wednesday at 1:05 pm to finish the five game series. Hillsboro leads 4-0 and has a chance to sweep the first five game series against a northern opponent in franchise history.
Photography by Portland Oregon
Photographer Craig MItchelldyer
By Greg Stoker