Ryan January Brought Hops Victory Home Over Spokane 8-2
Ryan January brought it all to the plate tonight. Home run, score, RBIs. With the help of his teammates, the Hops pummeled the Spokane Indians for two innings and eight runs for the 8-2 win.
It is always hard to tell whether it was the pitching or the offense that was the major factor in games like these. While the Hops slugged their way to eleven hits, eight runs, four doubles and a home run, it was also the Hops pitching who factored in as well. The five pitchers the Hops sent to the mound combined for twelve strikeouts and only three walks. Even though they gave up nine hits, they only allowed two runs and only one of those was earned.
P Drey Jameson drew the start and is still on a limited pitch count. Reaching 54 pitches in the third inning, Jameson kept the Indians to one run before his stay finished. Jake Polancic came in to finish the third in his usual style of filling the scoreboard with more zeroes.
Cody Reed (W, 1-0), who is down on a rehab assignment took the mound with a 1-0 deficit and a Hops batting order ready to explode. In the two innings Reed covered, the Hops exploded for eight runs and the lead, 8-2. Jacob Stevens and Yan Sanchez completed the game with a shut down.
Billy Layne, Jr. (L, 2-1), also down on a rehab assignment, pitched the definitive fourth and fifth innings for the loss.
It was not only what Ryan January brought to the plate. His teammates gave a strong presence as well. In the fourth and fifth innings, the Hops swung dynamite instead of ash. In those two innings, the Hops accounted for seven of the team’s eleven hits for the night. Also, two of the four doubles and the two-run homer Ryan January brought to the game. After the Indians blinked, their 1-0 lead turned into an 8-2 deficit. A deficit the Hops would not let go.
The Hops are showing the ability to bunch their efforts together, They may struggle an inning or two but let one batter hit safely or get on base, the others find it easy to follow for at least a couple of innings every game. The reason may be many such as one pitcher having a bad night. If that is the case, the Hops seem to sense it and pounce. One weakness and they all can find it.
Or, it may be the simple reason that this team is together. What one feels, they all feel. And, their timing is perfect. With the end of the regular season quickly approaching, now is the time to gel. With nine games left in the regular season, the Hillsboro Hops’ (19-10) win increased their lead over the Eugene Emeralds (14-15) to five games. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (15-14) win tonight gave them sole possession of second place in the Southern Division, four games back of the Southern Division leaders.
The Spokane Indians’ loss decreased their lead over the Tri-City Dust Devils to one game in the Northern Division.
Both Hillsboro and Spokane will face each other again Saturday night in game two of the four game series. The Hops send Ryne Nelson (0-0) to the mound Saturday. Still on a limited pitch count, Nelson went two scoreless innings with one hit in his last appearance on Monday. He will face Leury Tejada (1-2). In Tejada’s last appearance on Saturday, he pitched four scoreless innings with only one hit.
Having the Volcanoes in second place may be a win-win situation for Hillsboro. Salem-Keizer won the first half so they already have one of the playoff spots to be earned. If the Hillsboro Hops hops win the second half, they earn the second playoff position. If the Volcanoes win the second half, then the team with the best overall record will face them in the first round. As long as the Hops maintain at least second place behind the Volcanoes, then the position will still be theirs in the playoffs. However, with a four game lead with nine games to go, the Hops ending in second place may be moot.
Stay with the Minor League Sports Report for game recaps during the season. Also, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates on all Hops’ home games. Next home game will be on August 28th when the Hops return to Ron Tonkin Field to host the Boise Hawks in their last homestand of the regular season.