A throwing error by Spokane Indians shortstop Jax Biggers let the Hillsboro Hops tie the game in the ninth. That let the game go extra innings and a chance for the Hops to catch their breath before one more surge. In the eleventh, with Jake McCarthy starting at second base, Keyshawn Lynch doubled to left, scoring Jake and all they needed to put the game in their back pocket. But, just to make sure, Dan Swain sacrificed Keyshawn home for a little extra cushion. It didn’t matter as Spokane had nothing to answer with going 0-3 at the plate in the bottom of the eleventh.
Hillsboro drew first blood at the start when Jorge Perez led the game off with a double and then stole third. Perez got more than he asked for when catcher Scott Capers threw the ball into the outfield. Perez hurried home for the game’s first score.
Despite the positive start, the Hops wouldn’t score again until the ninth. By then, the Indians evened the score in the second, added two more in the sixth and one more in the seventh. The score grew to 4-1 with time dwindling down for the Hops.
Ain’t Over ‘Til Bat Lady Swings
But, the team that is making a habit of coming back at the last minute is never written off until the last out is called. The starting action in the top of the ninth portended the end. Third baseman Diosbel Arias tried to glove Keyshawn Lynch’s hot single but only altered its course into left field. Next, shortstop Jax Biggers tried to stop a hot single by Ryan January but only changed its course into center field. Dan Swain followed with a grounder. Arias took the easy fielder’s choice but threw the ball away going to first. Bases loaded. Jorge Perez grounded out 4-3 but Lynch took the quick trip home. Add the error by Biggers and the Hops had Lady Luck on their side.
But, luck only added opportunity. The clutch RBI bats of Keyshawn Lynch and Dan Swain brought the win across the plate. Seven of nine Hops batters hit safely in the game for twelve hits including Jorge Perez for three. Francis Martinez, Lynch and Ryan January totaled up two apiece. Perez and Lynch had both extra base hits for the visitors with a double each.
Matt Tabor started on the mound for the Hops but it took a platoon if five pitchers to seal the game. Ethan Larrison (W, 4-1) came to the mound in the ninth and stayed for the tenth to earn the win. Josh Green (S, 5) added to his winning reputation with an eleventh inning save. Bobby Eveld took the loss for the Indians.
Keyshawn Lynch Power Swing
The Hops are now on a three game winning streak after limping to the end of the first half. During that swing, Lynch’s bat went 4 for 9, scored four runs, two doubles and two RBI. Keyshawn scored the pinch-running game winning score in the first of the three games, the go-ahead run in the second game, started the rally that sent game three into extra innings and knocked in the game winner two innings later.
This win drew the Hillsboro Hops (3-1) into sole possession of first place in the Southern Division. The Eugene Emeralds (2-2) fell to second with their loss tonight and tied with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. With the loss, the Spokane Indians (3-1) still maintain their one game lead over the Everett Aquasox (2-2) for the Northern Division lead. The Vancouver Canadians (2-2) victory brought them into a second place tie with Everett.
Both Hillsboro and Spokane return to Avista Stadium for game two of the five game series. RHP Matt Mercer (0-0) is scheduled to start for the Hops. RHP Scott Engler (2-2) is scheduled to face him.
Do you enjoy trying to catch your breath after extra innings with the Hops? Read about the original Heart Attack Kids: the Portland Mavericks.