Sean Roby’s Walk-Off Leaps Eugene Emeralds Past Hops, 6-5
Sean Roby’s walk-off ground rule double bounced over the fence and out of reach in the bottom of the ninth. Trailing the entire game, the Eugene Emeralds led only when the game counted and the Hillsboro Hops fell, 6-5.
Hops Explosion Not High Enough
The Hops took off to a quick start in the top of the second inning. Simple explanations are mostly best and Blaze Alexander led off with one of the simplest: a solo shot giving the Hops a lead. To start compounding simple into complex, Eduardo Diaz followed with a double. After a groundout, Roman Ruiz, who would end up going 3 for 4 on the night, singled to put runners on the corners. Actually, it didn’t matter where the runners stood on base. Jorge Barrosa simplified matters again with his three-run shot to give the Hops a 4-0 lead.
The Hops scored once more on the night when Diaz reached on a throwing error from Ems’ third baseman Carter Aldrete. Diaz scored from a combination of a Roman Ruiz’ single and a sacrifice fly from Carson Kelly. Alas, the Hops scored no more on the night.
Note: Carson Kelly, the starting catcher for the MLB NL Arizona Diamondbacks (parent club), is spending a short vacation with the Hops while on a rehab assignment. Kelly is familiar with the area since he graduated from nearby Aloha High School before being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sean Roby’s Walk-Off Turns Catch-Up into Pass-Up
The Ems did their bit in bits and pieces. Shortly after the four run explosion, Franklin Labour walked and eventually scored on a passed ball from Hops catcher Kelly closing the gap to three. The fifth not only closed that even tighter, they also chased Hops starting pitcher Blake Walston from the mound. Both Tyler Flores and Nolan Dempsey led off their bottom half of their inning with solo shots making the score, 4-3.
Sean Roby’s Walk-Off
The Hops stretched the lead back to two with Diaz in the fifth but the Ems answered back in the eighth when Ricardo Genoves singled and scored on Aldrete’s RBI single to tighten the lead back to 5-4. Now, the stage was set for Sean Roby’s walk-off, ninth inning heroics bringing Auerbach and Fitzgerald home.
Hops Hold On
After throwing 83 pitches and striking out nine batters, Blake Walston ended up with a no decision even though he left the mound with a 4-3 lead. Nick Snyder (H, 5), Kyler Stout (H, 4), Bobby Ay (H, 1) and Denson Hull (H, 2) combined for a one-run, two-hit shut-down of the Ems.
Like a couple of games previously this year, if the game had only ended one inning earlier, the team could have walked off the field with another win. Unfortunately, the game didn’t end after the eighth inning. And, Yaramil Hiraldo had the bad luck to get the ninth. With a tight game like this one, the slightest nudge can change the game by flipping the score. Granted, it was a double nudge but this one swing of the bat was enough of a nudge.
Sean Roby’s Walk-Off Double Nudge in Ninth
Ems starter Conner Nurse was slammed with a barrage of Hops when four runs scored against him in the second. But, they didn’t chase him off the mound. Nurse remained and shut down the Hops the rest of his tenure going for an additional three and a third innings allowing one more run on two hits. Instead of being down 4-0, he handed his teammates in the bullpen a 5-3 deficit.
Travis Perry, Taylor Rashi and Chris Wright (W, 3-0) combined to shut down the Hops for three and two-thirds innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. It was enough of a shutdown to make Sean Roby’s walk-off double in the ninth a possible game-changing nudge.
The win helped the Eugene Emeralds (41-30) keep pace with first place Everett who also won tonight. The win also helped the Ems increase their lead over Spokane and Vancouver to eight and a half games. The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (31-39) to 16 games behind Everett and allowed Tri City to draw within three and a half games of the fifth place Hops.
Eugene and Hillsboro end the week splitting their series 3-3. Of the four six-game series they have played so far, three of them ended up in a split. Even more telling, all six games this week were decided by one run. The total scoring for the week is Eugene 28, Hillsboro 28. Discounting the second week of these teams’ meeting, the total score for the other three weeks is Eugene 76, Hillsboro 76. The two teams have two weekly series before the end of the season to decide who will be on top.
Note: the second week these two met turned out to be a six-game sweep by the Ems. For purposes of this article, it is considered an outlier.
This coming Tuesday, the Ems will travel to the Everett Aquasox. The Ems will see if they can cut into the six and a half game lead Everett has over them. The Hops will come home to host the Tri City Dust Devils. The Dust Devils are trying to close in from below and are only three and a half games behind.
Before my look back at week 12 appears Tuesday, look back at my Week 11: History in the Making look back to compare.