Jonny Homza Grand Slam Even Hillsboro Hops/TC Dust Devils Series With 9-1 Win
The Jonny Homza grand slam in the first inning helped launch the Tri-City Dust Devils over the Hillsboro Hops 9-1. The six-run first proved to be enough as the visitors ruined the final home game of the year for the home team.
It didn’t take either team any time to reach the scoreboard. After the visiting Dust Devils torched starting pitcher Blake Walston (L, 0-1) for six runs, the Hops tried to return the favor in the bottom of the inning. Ricky Martinez led off with a walk and scored from second on a Dominic Canzone single.
However, the Hops’ start also proved to be their finish. The Hops scored no more on the night. Hops batters mustered only three hits. Their four walks overshadowed their hitting. Unfortunately, their five strikeouts dwarfed even more. Dust Devil pitching allowed only seven Hops base runners in the game. Six of them came in the first three innings. Five in the first two. Pitcher Jason Reynolds (W, 1-0) earned the win pitching four no-hit innings during mid-relief.
On the other hand, the Dust Devils had no such limitations and received a helping hand from an unexpected source: the Hops themselves. Tri-City managed five hits, just two more than their opponent. They also received seven walks, three more than the Hops. But, if you look at their 16 strikeouts by Hops pitching which towers over the five dished out by Dust Devil pitching, you scratch your head on how could the visitors outscore the Hops 9-1?
The help did not come in the form of five Hops errors. They all came in scoreless innings with the exception of Reinaldo Ilarraza in the first. But, he reached base on a single and only gained second on the later error. Inconsequential when followed by three walks, a hit batter and the Jonny Homza grand slam.
Key To Game
But, therein lies the key. Three walks and a hit batter. Along with the seven walks issued by Hops pitching, they also struck two Dust Devil batters for a free pass. On a side note, Matthew Acosta was the first hit batter and had to leave the game due to an injury resulting from taking one off the batting helmet. No word yet on his condition.
Of the nine batters to reach base and score, four reached on a walk and two were hit by a pitch. Six free runs that any coach will say was handed to the team at the plate. Granted, with the Hops only scoring one run, the one run from a single and two from separate home runs make that point moot. (Tre Carter hit a two-run shot in the fifth.) The Hops would have lost anyway. But, still, a coach would say help your own team instead of the other one.
It is only one game and there are four others that can count just as much. The series is now tied and the Hops have three more chances to get two more wins. But, so does the other team.
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