The Hillsboro Hops took the game from the Vancouver Canadians in the bottom of the 4th inning, 10-9. It was a game of many colors with excellent pitching, active bats, good defense and an infielder taking the mound in the 14th to earn the win for the home team.
The winning run would reach first base when Trevor Mitsui was hit by a pitch from Michael Kraft. Luis Veras singled past second baseman Ryan Metzler. Stephen Dezzi came to the plate, pinch hitting for Fernery Ozuna. Dezzi sacrificed to right field moving Mitsui to third. With Gerard Hernandez at the plate, Dezzi stole second with no throw attempted. The plate was set up for the heroics by Hernandez. On a 1-2 pitch, Hernandez stroked a simple single to center field that scored Mitsui with the winning run. After 14 innings the remaining pent up crowd, waiting for their team to win, rose in a united cheer as the players dog-piled on Hernandez between first and second.
The game saw a total of sixteen different pitchers and 25 different batsmen.
It looked like the story of the game would be the return of Cody Reed’s mojo. Reed started and pitched five innings of scoreless, three-hit mastery, walking two and striking out seven. Cody would leave after the fifth inning with a high pitch count of 89 pitches over that time. The Hops would go through seven more pitchers of their own before resorting to infielder Galli Cribbs, Jr. (1-0) taking the mound. Cribbs allowed one hit and struck out one batter in facing four. Galli was rewarded with the win.
For the Canadians’ pitchers, the hits came early with the Hops scoring in every inning through the fourth. Starter Evan Smith was chased after 2.2 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits, walking three. It was Michael Kraft that got the loss, pitching the final inning.
The Hops took a commanding lead of 8-0 by the fourth inning. Then the Hops cooled down. The Canadians scored eight runs of their own in the sixth and seventh innings to catch up in a game many thought was over early. Vancouver even took the lead in the eighth when Andrew Guillote scored on a ground out by Justin Atkinson.
In the bottom of the ninth, Joey Armstrong kept the Hops chances alive when he sacrificed to center field scoring Trevor Mitsui from third. The teams battled through five more innings before Gerard Hernandez’s game winning RBI.
For the game, combined there were 19 runs scored on 31 hits. 17 batters walked. 36 struck out. For the Hops, Trevor Mitsui led the Hops bats going 3 for 7, scoring four times and earning two RBI. One of his hits was the game’s lone home run, a solo shot to lead off the third inning. Interestingly enough, Trevor was left stranded on base in each of his seven at bats.
For the Canadians, Carl Wise led another strong bunch of bats going 2 for 6, scoring twice with two RBI.
The Hillboro Hops (11-6) have moved into sole possession of first in the South Division. The Vancouver Canadians (7-10) remain three games behind Everett.
Both teams meet for the last game of a five game series Sunday evening. The Hops lead the series 3-1.
By Greg Stoker