The scoreboard was as empty as a desert at high noon in the summer. Until Joey Rose stepped up to the plate to start the eighth inning. The Hillsboro Hops slugged through seven innings of the Tri-City Dust Devils pitching staff that included seven strike outs, four ground outs, four fly outs or line drives and two double plays up to that point. More importantly – no runs.
On the bright side, it also included seven walks, four singles, one double, a hit batter and an error allowing a base runner to reach first. It was Hillsboro’s effort to become the flash flood in the desert. A chance to rush over the scorched base paths to create a path home. It would be neither feast nor famine on a night where the temperature at first pitch blazed 104 degrees across the field.
Joey Rose Slices Heat
It was no mirage when Joey Rose cocked the bat, ready to swing away. All it took was one swing and the ball sailed over the left field fence at Gesa Field under the hot sun that radiated triple digits with no place to hide. It felt like a drop of water for the visiting team with hope for more. But the skies remained dry through the rest of the game. Except for the solitary number “1” on the scoreboard amidst all of the zeroes, the empty circles would keep multiplying to the end.
The main reason for the drought belonged to the pitching staffs of both sides. The home team started with Omar Cruz and passed through four other pitchers. All had control difficulty cumulating in ten walks and nine strike outs. But, they maintained the zeroes until Joey Rose struck hard. Cody Tyler (L, 0-1), who held the mound in the eighth inning, took the loss.
Hops Pitching, Defense Refuse Hosts
The home team faced a more efficient form of pitching backed by the gloves and hustle behind the mound. Jackson Goddard was named starter and set the tone for the bullpen to follow. Goddard went three innings allowing just one hit and struck out two. The rest of the stat column reflected the scoreboard looking down on home plate: 0 runs and 0 walks.
Harrison Francis bridged the next three innings. Francis allowed four hits but with the help of fielding and keeping the ball in the park, Harrison was able to escape with more zeroes on the board. Yeison Santana (W, 1-0) owned the mound when Joey Rose sent the homer across the field and earned the win. 2018 All-Star Josh Green (S, 7) performed his usual ninth inning magic earning his seventh save.
Hops Big Bats
The wood of the road team was not quiet. Seven of the nine starting players smashed at least one hit. Center fielder Jake McCarthy led the lineup not only from the lead off position but with two hits as well. McCarthy also had the Hops only extra base hit, a double to lead off the game. Joey Rose, the man who knocked in the winning run (himself) had one hit: The Home Run.
Due to the win, the Hillsboro Hops (9-6) raised into a first place tie with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes(9-6). Also, the loss dropped the Tri-City Dust Devils (5-10) to four games behind the Northern Division leader Vancouver Canadians (9-6).
Both teams will return to Gesa Stadium on Saturday night for another game in the eastern Washington heat. Hillsboro now leads the series 2-0 and can clinch the series win. Luis Frias (1-3) will take the mound for the Hops. On 8/3, Frias pitched 3.1 innings and gave up one run on three hits. Frias also struck out six batters with only two walks. Angel Acevedo (4-2) will face Frias. On 8/2, Acevedo pitched seven innings for a no decision. Acevedo allowed two earned runs on seven hits but also struck out six batters with only one walk.
2018 Hopps All-Stars Andy Yerzy and Josh Green acquitted themselves well in the first loss by the Northwest League in the four year history of facing the Pioneer League. Yerzy went 1 for 3 while starting as designated hitter for the All-Stars. Andy was able to double and score one of the game’s first runs.
Josh Green faced two batters late in the game striking out one and retiring the other on a ground out.