Hillsboro Hops, Jorge Perez Refuse Spokane Indians, 4-3
The Hillsboro Hops thought they had the lead and then the Spokane Indians caught up just as quickly. Nipping any thoughts that Spokane might have had of salvaging a win in this five-game series, the Hops just as quickly took the lead back with Jorge Perez second score of the night and held onto the lead tight with commanding pitching. The Hops won 4-3, and swept the Spokane Indians.
Adrian Del Moral started for the Hops and sparkled for four innings. Limiting the visiting team to a suffocating two-hit scoreless start, Del Moral pitched 47 strikes out of 68 pitches. Ironically, it would be Brian Christian (W, 1-0) who would get the win by being the pitcher of record in the fifth inning despite allowing all three Spokane runs.
Indians Hans Crouse (L, 1-1) had a shaky start with wild pitches. In the first inning, he sailed a pitch behind a Hops’ batter’s head. Several other off plate pitches made it to the backstop but, with no one on base, there was no damage done. Until the bottom of the fourth.
Home run by Tra Holmes
Tra Holmes started off the inning with 369 foot shot over the left field-center fence. The soft hit (exit velocity was only 99 mph) floated far enough to give hope to the Indians outfield but all they could do was watch it leave the playing field. Then, George Perez went to work on his first score with Crouse’s help.
Perez beat out a deep 6-3 infield single and took second on a wild pitch by Crouse. Emboldened, Jorge Perez stole third and slid safely under the high throw. Then, another wild pitch handed him home plate for the game’s second score. Ryan Tufts, who had watched it all from the batter’s box, walked to first and took second on a third wild pitch. A passed ball gave him third and an RBI single by Keyshawn Lynch brought Tufts safely home.
After the lean pitching from both sides, the score was 3-0, but the lead didn’t last. In the top of the seventh, the Indians were scoring their bunch of plated appearances.
Tyler Depreta-Johnson doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning. After an out, Diosbel Arias doubled Tyler home with a blast of his own. A 373 foot shot bouncing off of the 375 foot fence, just missing home run status. Curtis Terry followed with the biggest blast of the night. Terry sent a rocket 430 feet to the deepest part of the park (400 feet), exiting at 107 mph. With a blink, the game was tied at three.
Jorge Perez to the rescue.
A bullet by Jorge Perez led up the middle, whizzing past the pitcher’s head before he could react. Jose Caballero stepped to the plate and Perez stole second. Caballero slapped a slow roller (exit speed 63 mph) to short that allowed both runners to reach base safely. From third, Jorge Perez scored on Ryan Tufts RBI sacrifice to short.
The 4-3 lead would hold for the win. Shut down pitching from Trevor McKenna, Kai-Wei Lin and Josh Green held the Indians scoreless on just one hit to sweep the Spokane Indians in the five-game series. Josh Green (S-2) earned his second save.
Jorge Perez led the Hops bats going 2 for 4 with two singles, two scores and two stolen bases. Tra Holmes lead-off homer opened the scoring for both sides. Tyler Depreta-Johnson, Diosbel Arias and Curtis Terry had two hits for the Indians. Terry’s monster blast tied the game.
With the Hillsboro Hops leaving for a three game series on the road, Fourth of July fireworks were held after the game. Perfect for an excited, celebrating crowd of 5,506.
With the win the Hillsboro Hops (13-6) maintained a one game lead for first place in the Southern Division. The loss dropped the Spokane Indians (6-13) to five games back of the north-leading Everett Aquasox. Hillsboro will now travel to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes who hold a tight second place one game behind. The Indians return home to host the Tri City Dust Devils for a three-game series of their own.
RHP Rafael Pujols returned to the Hops Tuesday night from the Kane County Cougars.