Ryan January originally had the night off. But, a wrong bounce near the plate cancelled any other plans he might have had. Instead of watching from the dugout, January was called upon to take over behind the plate and his bat removed any doubt as the Hillsboro Hops defeated the Eugene Emeralds 10-1 for their sixth win in a row.
The bump and grind is a part of any baseball game. Bruises are a sign of not backing down. Tonight, bruises were a plentiful part of the game. Fernando Kelli for the Ems along with Geraldo Perdomo and Will Gorman for the Hops were hit by a pitch and awarded first base. Fernando Kelli collected his second bruise sliding into second base. Going for the trifecta, Kelli grabbed his third bruise when he and DJ Artis collided in the outfield on a miscommunicated (and successful) attempt to catch a fly ball in the outfield.
But, the biggest bruise came at home plate in the top of the fourth. Zach Jones squatted behind the plate with glove extended for the pitch. The ball bounced low in the dirt and came up on his neck under the guard of the catcher’s mask. It was enough to remove Jones from the game as he walked off under his own power with one hand holding his throat.
Ryan January Opens Door
Every bruise is followed by an opportunity. This time, Ryan January took over behind the plate. But it was his bat that made the biggest difference. Entering the game with the Hops up 2-0, January took his first at bat with Francis Martinez and Will Gorman on board. His double scored both runners. January followed them home with Keyshawn Lynch’s RBI single making the score 5-0.
The Hops already had enough for the eventual win but they kept pouring it on. But first, the Ems scored their lone run of the night in the fifth off of Jake Slaughter’s triple. Slaughter returned the favor in the sixth when he could not find the handle on Keyshawn Lynch’s rounder to third allowing Will Gorman to score. Another run came in the seventh when Joey Rose singled through the right infield gap to score Geraldo Perdomo.
The Final Barrage
All doubt was removed in the eighth. The Hops scored three runs to put the Hops into double digits. Ryan January tripled and came home on Keyshawn Lynch’s sacrifice to center field. LT Tolbert smacked the inning’s second triple to score Geraldo Perdomo. Finally, Andy Yerzy beat the shift by knocking a single through where the short stop normally guards the infield to score Tolbert.
The dust settled on a 10-1 score and it was just a matter of three outs to end the game. Back to back singles by the Ems DJ Artis and Fernando Kelli caused some minor doubt but they were stranded on base by Wes Rodrigues taking command of the plate by striking out two batters and inducing a fly to center field.
Shut Down Mound
It is hard to tell if the game was won by the offense, the defense or the pitching as all three were on spot for the game. Ryan Weiss started for the Hops and went four innings facing the minimum twelve batters and struck out four. Kenny Hernandez (W, 6-3) took the next four innings and struck out another four batters earning the win. Wes Rodriguez did not earn the save because the lead was too large but he executed the ninth without another score. Paul Richan lasted almost four innings and took the loss (L, 0-2)
Because of the win, the Hillsboro Hop’s winning streak extended to six games and maintained their six game lead over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. In contrast, the loss dropped the Eugene Emeralds to seven games back of the Southern Division leading Hops. Eleven games remain in the second half.
The Hops swept the Emeralds 3-0 and now face the Everett Aquasox for a five game home stand. Matt Tabor (1-0) will take the mound for the home team. On 8/18, Tabor pitched five scoreless innings for a no decision. Facing Tabor will be Jheyson Carabello (4-3). On 8/17, Carabello allowed one run in five innings for a no decision.
Furthermore, for a look ahead at the current season, check out the preseason report with quotes from RyanJanuary, Andy Yerzy and Trevor McKenna.