The Hillsboro Hops beat themselves Friday night allowing the host Tri City Dust Devils to take the credit, 3-1.
The first inning started off with Dust Devil Robbie Pordosky reaching base after striking out on a wild pitch from Hops starter Tyler Badamo (L, 0-1). Another wild pitch sent him over to second. Consecutive groundouts brought Varsho around the rest of the way for the game’s first score.
The second inning saw the bases loaded before Badamo uncorked another wild pitch to allow the game’s second run. Aside from the three wild pitches, Badamo did have good control of the game covering six innings and only allowing those two runs, walking just one batter. On most other nights, two runs would have been enough to win the game.
The Hops made it more of a game in the fifth when they scored their only run of the night, making the score 2-1. With one out, Daulton Varsho singled up the middle and stole second base. A collision with short stop Luis Almanzar knocked the highly touted prospect out of the game with an elbow injury. When Tra’Mayne Holmes grounded out, Varsho took advantage of the opportunity to take third on the throw. First baseman Bryant Aragon’s throw back to third went wild and Daulton easily came home for the Hops only score.
Tyler Benson would score an insurance run for the home team in part due to an errant throw by short stop Camden Duzenack.
Osvaldo Hernandez (W, 2-2) went six innings for the Dust Devils, allowing the one unearned run by Varsho and striking out six batters while walking none. Hernandez scattered four Hops hits across the innings. Dauris Valdez, Andres Munoz and Mark Zimmerman (S, 1) all took one inning of relief limiting the Hops to two more hits total.
Luis Lara and Daulton Varsho both had multi-hit games including Lara’s double in the fourth. Bryan Araiza and Pavin Smith had the Hops other two hits, both singles. The Dust Devil pitching staff showed a mastery over the night striking out ten Hops.
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (8-8) into a first-place tie with the Boise Hawks. With the Eugene Emeralds and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes waiting one game behind the leaders, the second half race is proving to be one of the tightest in years.
The win raised the Tri City Dust Devils (9-7) into a first-place tie with the Spokane Indians. In another tight race, the Everett Aquasox and Vancouver Canadians are within one game of the north division lead.
Both teams will return to Gesa Stadium for game two of the five game series. Expected starters are RHP Jhoan Duran (2-2) for the Hops and LHP Thomas Cosgrove (0-2) for the Dust Devils.
Hops notes: RHP Cal Becker returns to the Hops after a three-week stay at the Kane County Cougars. While there, Becker pitched eight games in relief, striking out nine and walking eight in eleven innings. Cal did earn a save in his only opportunity. Becker’s transfer comes one day after RHP Erbert Gonzales was promoted to Kane County from the Hops.
By Greg Stoker