Kristian Robinson Homered Hops by Emeralds 2-1
Kristian Robinson homered the Hillsboro Hops by the Eugene Emeralds in a tight 2-1 thriller as the first half nears its end. In a tight race with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes for the first half championship, every wins keeps the Hops chances alive one more day.
Source of Power
Kristian Robinson homered in the first inning with an over 400 foot shot that looked easier than it was. Or, perhaps, easy for Robinson but harder for the normal professional ball player. A hot prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, Kristian Robinson has been making a lot of things look easy.
As of Friday night, Robinson is leading the league in doubles (10) tied with Everett’s Austin Shenton. Robinson stands in second place with 41 hits, two hits behind NW League leader S-K’s Sean Roby’s 43 and slugging percentage (.568) to leader SK’s Franklin Labour (.726) and OPS (956) to leader Labour (1.145). Third in batting average (.328) to leader Vancouver’s Yorman Rodriguez (.369). Fourth in home runs (6) behind leader Labour (13) and in RBI (25) to leader Labour (30).
In the first inning, Kristian Robinson homered a towering shot estimated at least 410 feet by play-by-play announcer Rich Burk. It cleared the deepest part of the field in center-right just to the right of Big Blue in center field. With Steven Leyton on first, Robinson’s two-run homer surprisingly lasted for the win over eight more innings.
In addition, Robinson also narrowly missed his second homer of the night when his sixth inning blast missed going over the left field fence by a foot. As a consolation, Robinson stood up when arriving at second base for his league leading eleventh double. Kristian was the last Hops to reach base.
Hops’ Pitching Holds Emeralds
The main reason why the two runs Robinson homered in the first stood for the entire length of the game was the Hops pitching from beginning to end. Luis Frias (W, 2-2) struck out all six outs through the first two innings as he started for the Hops. Frias did run into some trouble in the third when Luis Diaz led off with a double and scored on Frias wild pitch for the only Ems run of the game. Luis Frias made it through the shaky inning giving up a walk and a single but regained control in the fourth and fifth. Luis Vasquez single was the only further blip in Frias’ five innings.
Near perfection followed in the forms of Ethan Larrison (H, 1) (2018 Hop sent down on a rehab assignment), Justin Garcia (H, 6) who blew fire across the plate and received a well deserved high five entering the dugout and Eduardo Herrera (H, 1) who fanned the bats three times for his first save in his first save opportunity. Chris Clarke (L, 0-1) started for the Emeralds and gave up Robinson’s homer for the loss.
Another reason for the close win was the defense, highlighted by two remarkable performances by second baseman Steven Leyton. His first grab in the top of the third, diving into shallow right field, robbed the Emeralds of two runs as he stabbed the ball for the final out of the inning with two runners in scoring position. The second time opened the seventh. Leyton dived laterally to snatch the streaking grounder to his left and coming up quick with the throw to first for the out.
The win kept the Hillsboro Hops (22-14) within striking distance of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (24-12) on top of the Southern Division. There are only two games left in the first-half season. In order to grab the first half championship earning a playoff spot, the Hops need to win their last two games while the Volcanoes lose their last two.
The loss dropped the Eugene Emeralds (16-20) to six games behind the Hops. Both teams will meet for the second game of the three game series. Zach Mort (4-3) takes the mound for the Ems. Mort’s last appearance on Monday went seven innings giving up three runs on six hits for the loss.
In addition, 2019 first round draft pick Drey Jameson will make his professional debut on the mound for the Hops.
Consequently, stay with Minor League Sports Report for game recaps throughout the season. Meanwhile, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates throughout all home games.