Jose Verrier Doubles, Tri City Dust Devils Sink Hops, 4-2
Jose Verrier connected on one hit tonight. But, it turned out to be the game winner. In the seventh, Carlos Herrera and Brandon White both singled to reach base. Already with a slim lead 1-0, Verrier’s double brought them both home to make it 3-0. That proved to be enough for the Tri City Dust Devils’ victory over the Hillsboro Hops. Final score: 4-2.
Enter 14 Strikeouts
Even though the game ended with a furious scramble, the beginning started like a dry desert with no oasis in sight. Batters, thirsty for a score, whiffed 15 times before a run scored. Ryan Smith (W, 1-0) was the biggest culprit as he threw nine of the Ks. Equally impressive, Ryan made 95 pitches lasting six innings. He left the game for a well deserved rest with his arm nearly as strong as when he started the first inning. Chad Sykes (H, 2) and Kolton Ingram continued the mastery facing six more batters over the next two innings, with each pitcher adding one more K to the pile.
The Hops started the same way with Slade Cecconi (L, 0-2) leading the way. Slade lasted six innings before giving way to a pitch count. During his time on the mound, Slade delivered four strikeouts but mastered the game with a combination of eight groundouts and seven fly balls. His only falter came when Spencer Griffin led off Slade’s sixth and final inning with a costly triple.
Enter Jose Verrier
Jose Verrier didn’t start the caravan of scoring. That happened in the previous inning when Spencer Griffin opened the inning with a triple and came home on Kyle Kasser’s sacrifice fly. Jose Verrier also didn’t end the flock of runs. That happened in the next inning when Hops third baseman Buddy Kennedy’s throwing error allowed Kyle Kasser to reach first. Francisco Del Valle later doubled Kasser home for a 4-0 lead.
No, but it was Jose Verrier that punched the double that gave the Dust Devils the future winning run. After last night’s shut out of the Hops (their second of the season), it looked like another night of arid scoring. Their three run lead (and later four) would be enough with only two more innings left to play. They were right — but just barely.
Enter With No Score
The Hops entered the last inning of the game with no runs on the board. Down four runs, the Hops knew they had to be aggressive. And that is how they started. Buddy Kennedy looped his second pitch into the shallow outfield for a single. Blaze Alexander whacked his fourth pitch even farther for a double. Two runners in scoring position with no outs. After a strikeout, Tristin English brought both runners home with a clutch single and then stole second to put himself in scoring position.
That turned out to be the last of it. Zac Kristifak settled on the mound for the Dust Devils and shut down the last two batters with a fly ball to left and a grounder to short.
The win helped the Tri City Dust Devils trim Everett’s lead over them to nine games. The loss for the Hillsboro Hops maintained their 5.5 game deficit behind Everett. Both teams meet again Saturday night for game five*. The Dust Devils evened the series at 2-2.
(*note: game was suspended in the top of the 5th inning due to rain and to be finished on Sunday)
For those of you still thirsty for some Hops offense, revisit a recent game where the Hops, with a Big Bang 5th, beat the Eugene Emeralds 11-5, from May 16th earlier this year.