Jesus Marriaga, Hillsboro Hops End Season, Boise Hawks 13-5
Jesus Marriaga led a potent offense finding itself ready for the playoffs. Leaving the hometown fireworks behind from Friday night, the Hillsboro Hops Hops brought their own to the plate when they sent eleven men in the eighth and scored six runs, defeating the Boise Hawks 13-5.
Bit By Bit
The game stayed relatively close through most of the innings. The Hops took the early lead and held it the rest of the way. But, they only held a 3-1 lead by the fourth inning. Then the Hops slowly pulled away.
Two runs in the fifth pushed the lead to 5-1. Another two runs in the seventh grew the lead to 7-1. Then the roof came off the house when the Hops scored six runs to launch the lead to 13-1. The Hawks scored a respectable four runs in the ninth to get the deficit back to single digits, 13-5, but the lead was never threatened.
The Hops sent seven pitchers to the mound in part due to pitch counts and another part wanting to get some rest for the Hillsboro arms in getting ready for Wednesday’s first playoff game. Starter Blake Walston, this year’s Diamondbacks first round choice, made his third Hops’ two-inning appearance of the season on a limited pitch count and started the ball rolling. Or, should I say zipping across the plate.
New Franchise Record
Deyni Olivero (W, 8-3) broke and set the new Hops’ franchise record for wins in a season when he earned tonight’s win for his eighth of the season. Even before this, Olivero had been named the NW League’s pitcher of the year. Tonight’s victory just put icing on the cake.
Except for the four run blip in most of the ninth, Walston, Jacob Stevens, Olivero, Justin Garcia (4 K’s in 2 IP), Yan Sanchez, Eduardo Herrera and Liu Fuenmayor held the Hawks to one run on six hits for the game. Jeffri Ocando (L, 1-8) started and gave up the first five runs for the Boise loss.
Jesus Marriaga On Top
The Hillsboro bats spoke the loudest. 15 hits with four doubles, a triple and a home run will get people’s attention. Jesus Marriaga ended an excellent season going 3 for 5, three runs, a double and a triple. In all, eight different Hops hit safely averaging almost two hits per batter. Eight different Hops scored a run. It was more than a team effort. It was a team party to celebrate the end of the regular season and looking forward to the first round of the playoffs.
The Hops accomplished everything they set out to do in the second half. They made the playoffs for a league record sixth season in a row. After losing the first half championship to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes by just one game, the Hops came back in the second half to win the latter championship.
By winning that second half of the Southern Division by four games, the Hops also grabbed the best overall record by combining the two halves. Finally, and maybe most importantly, the young men from Hillsboro also established momentum going into the playoffs.
With their win, the Hillsboro Hops (24-14) ended the regular season atop the Southern Division four games over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes whom they will meet in the first round. The loss dropped the Boise Hawks (12-26) to twelve games behind the division leaders.
The Hops (48-28) also ended with an overall record that was not only the best in the Southern Division but also the whole league. The Hops finished above the second place SK Volcanoes (46-30) in the Southern Division and also the Northern Division best record of the Spokane Indians (45-31)
Though the Hops could be the popular favorites to win, it will take more than past performance. Their momentum of winning four of their last five games to end the season will certainly help. Throughout the season, I have never seen these young men give up. Again, maybe more importantly, I never saw these young men stop having fun.
The winner of the best of three series will face the winner between the Spokane Indians and the Tri-City Dust Devils. Stay with the Minor League Sports Report for game recaps and more throughout the playoffs as well as minor league coverage across the country. Also, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates on all Hops home games throughout the playoffs. Next home game is Wednesday night at 7:05 PM.
Their next game will be Wednesday after a day off to host the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for game 1 of the first round of the playoffs at Ron Tonkin Field. Game 2 will find both teams at Volcano Stadium in Salem-Keizer as well as game 3 if necessary.