Jose Queliz’s 3-Run Homer Gives Hillsboro Hops Sweep of Eugene Emeralds, 6-1
With two homers in back to back innings, the Hillsboro Hops tied and then blew away the Eugene Emeralds in the final game of the regular season. The Hops added two more runs in the seventh for a final score of 6-1.
The two teams were already qualified for the playoffs and will meet each other in the first round. The first game will be this Wednesday at Ron Tonkin Field at 7:05 pm. Eugene qualified by winning both halves of the season and Hillsboro made it by earning the second best overall record of the remaining teams of the South Division.
Hillsboro swept the three game series with their first round opponent to end the season. For the year, the Hops were 7-5 against the Emeralds. The first round will consist of three games with the third game if necessary. The final two games will be at Eugene.
Scoring was tight to begin the game. Emerald starter Dylan Cease pitched five fine innings leaving the mound with a 1-0 score and only one Hops hit allowed. The highly regarded prospect struck out ten and walked none. Reliever Alex Santana (L, 3-1) took the mound in the sixth and was chased away the following inning after allowing five runs on only three hits for the loss. MT Minacci finished the seventh and the eighth and allowed the Hops final run.
Where the Emeralds ended up using only three pitchers, the Hops had a different agenda. They used seven different pitchers according to plan to get as many ready for the playoffs as they could. Their plan worked effectively allowing only one run during the game on just two hits over the nine innings. The only Emerald run came in the fourth was unearned giving Eugene the early lead. Wladimir Galindo scored from third on a balk by Hops pitcher Dallas Newton. Trent Giambrone had singled prior moving Galindo over to third. It was the first hit of the game for Eugene. The only other hit for the Emeralds came with a single by Marcus Mastrobuoni in the seventh.
The pitcher of record for the win was Riley Smith who pitched the seventh allowing only Mastrobuoni’s single. Ethan Elias started the first two innings for the Hops keeping the Emeralds hitless and scoreless. Colin Poche, newcomer Wesley Ridriguez, KevinGinkel and Jake Winston all pitched one inning of hitless relief.
The Hops batters fared better once starter Cease took a well deserved rest. Hillsboro’s bats managed seven hits with two of them being home runs. Like the pitching staff, it was the Hops plan to utilize as many players as they could to stay ready for the playoffs with mass substitutions coming in the seventh and eighth.
The tying run came on the Hops second hit of the night. Jason Morozowski stepped up to the plate in the sixth with one out and sent a long fly ball over the right field fence. With both teams struggling to get a single at that point, the long ball was a pleasant surprise.
In the following inning, the doors came off the hinges as the Hops scored five more runs. Luis Veras singled for his second hit of the night to become the only Hops batter to have more than one hit. Newcomer Jason Heinrich walked to set the plate for Jose Queliz’ towering three run shot over the left field fence to give the Hops a lead they would not let go. After the bases had been cleared, Adam Walton walked which led to MT Minacci coming in to relieve Alex Santana.
Stephen Smith and newcomer Joey Rose walked to load the bases. Luke Lowery punched a hard hit line drive up the midddle to score Smith and Walton for the final score.
With the win, the Hillsboro Hops (23-14) finish with a second half record two and a half games behind the Eugene Emeralds (26-12). The overall 2016 season record ended much the same with Eugene (54-22) finishing eleven and a half games ahead of Hillsboro (42-33).
by Greg Stoker