Hops Used 4-Run 8th to Put Canadians Away 7-4
Hops used four runs in the eighth to break open a tight game. The win, 7-4, stretched their winning streak to three games. The Hillsboro Hops not only beat the Vancouver Canadians but also stepped over them into fourth place.
Hops Used Home Field Advantage on the Road
With three games left in the season, the Hops will need to win two of their last three games to keep hold of fourth place. It seems the Hops woke up at the mound and at the plate just in time to do it. It is no secret that the Hops have had their share of struggles this season. The reason will be gone over in a look back at the whole season after the season ends. But for now, tonight was full of reasons why the Hops are winning again. After six years of going to the playoffs ending, the Hops have found something else to fight for.
One benefit is being able to play their last road games at home. With the Canadians’ border shut down until recently, the Hops invited the Canadians to Ron Tonkin Field to have a home for the 2021 season. The Canadian opened their border recently but with so little season left to play, they decided to finish out the season in Hillsboro.
At the Plate
Elian Miranda is a recent arrival along with Jose Curpa, Elijah Greene and Ronny Simon. I would throw Luvin Valbuena in there as well even though he was with the Hops earlier in the season. Some of the new guys struggled. Some of the new guys hit the ground running. But, a new guy will always have a period of adjustment. It seems the new guys have adjusted.
Miranda erupted with three hits and a walk to reach base on all four plate appearances. Along the way, he was part of the scoring in the eighth that ripped the game open with his two-run triple. His RBI single in the fourth helped get the scoring started for the game. Jose Curpa brought Miranda home in the eighth with his RBI single. Luvin Valbuena kept the eighth going with his single.
I should also include AJ Vukovich since he was the first new arrival. But, he has fit in so seamlessly, it is easy to forget that he has only been with the Hops since August 3rd. In all, the “new” guys went 7 for 22 tonight for a .318 batting average. They scored three runs and hit two triples, creating four RBIs.
On the Mound
The game was started by two more new guys in the form of Kyle Backhus and Jose Santamaria (W, 1-0) who covered seven of the nine innings. During their time, they allowed all three Vancouver runs and made them work for it. Averaging four batters per inning, the Canadians could not get anything going except for the fifth. Davis Schneider led off with a triple and scored on Andres Guerra’s RBI double. Guerra came home on Eric Rivera’s RBI double. Santamaria allowed the Canadians final run on Schneider’s solo blast in the seventh.
Those two scoring bursts featured all three Vancouver runs of the night. They also featured all four hits by Vancouver. Two veterans, Kyler Stout and Yaramil Hiraldo closed out the eighth and ninth for the Hops, facing the minimum and striking out five of the six batters they faced.
Sem Robberse started for the Canadians and lasted five innings, leaving the game at a 2-2 tie. Hayden Juenger walked three and struck out three, allowing one more Hops’ run to score. Hayden left with the game tied 3-3. Roither Hernandez (L, 0-1) allowed the four run burst to take the loss. Hagen Danner closed out the game for Vancouver with no hit ball.
Hops Used to Winning
The scoring highlight of the night turned out to be the four run explosion for the Hops in the eighth. Vancouver tied the score in the fourth, 2-2. They also tied it 3-3 in the sixth. But four Hops’ runs in the eighth left the Canadians behind in the dust with nowhere to go.
Eight Hops men went to the plate in the eighth. Axel Andueza led off with a single. Nick Dalesandro joined him with a walk. Elian Mirando brought both runners home with his triple. Jose Curpa brought Miranda home with his RBI single. There are still no outs in the inning at this point. The Hops started losing steam afterwards but still were effective while slowing down.
Elijah Green reached base on a fielder’s choice and later scored with help from Luvin Valbuena’s single and Leodany Perez’ RBI groundout to second baseman Davis Schneider. After the dust settled, Hillsboro led 7-4 and the game had its final score.
As mentioned earlier, the win helped the Hillsboro Hops (51-59) step over the Vancouver Canadians (54-63) and into fourth place by a half game and .002 percentage points. Further, both teams will meet again Friday for game#4. However, the Hops lead the series 3-0 and have three chances left to take the series win.
Meanwhile, in the other tight race, Spokane beat Everett to step over Eugene, who lost to Tri City, for the top spot and a half game lead.
By Greg Stoker