The lead see-sawed back and forth more than a tennis match at Wimbledon. When the spinning stopped, the Vancouver Canadians landed on top of the Hillsboro Hops, 5-3. Francis Martinez smacked two doubles. Ryan Tufts and Nick Podkul both smacked a homer for their team. For the most part, the highlights were shared all around on both sides.
The Vancouver bats all swung and made contact. Sterling Guzman connected twice. McGregory Contreras and Brandon Polizzi doubled and knocked in at least one run. Nick Podkul even slammed a solo home run over the left-center portion of the field in the first inning. But, while Podkul’s initial blast promised of long balls to come, pitching waged against the bats for the whole game, continuing the resistance to define a game that was as close as they came.
The lead was never greater than one. The Vancouver Canadians drew first blood in the first with a 1-0 lead. The Hops tied it in the third and took the lead for themselves in the fifth (2-1). Vancouver caught up in the bottom but Hillsboro took it back again in the sixth (3-2). Vancouver finally took control for good. The Canadians scored twice and kept the lead (4-3), adding one more in the eighth just in case they needed the extra run.
Randy Pondler (W, 1-4) started for the home team, lasting six innings for his first win of the season. However, Pondler also gave up all three of Hillsboro’s runs on six hits. Fitz Stadler (H, 3) then came in and held the visiting Hops to no scores but also gave up the final three hits Hillsboro would claim for the game. Nick Allgeyer (S, 1) pitched the ninth for the save.
The Hops were unable to close the door on the Vancouver Canadians. Matt Tabor started for the Hops and Yeison Santana followed with two innings of his own for the majority of the game. When they both left for the dugout at the end of their stay, they both left with the game tied (1-1 and 2-2, respectively). Unfortunately for West Tunnel (L, 0-1), his one inning allowed two runs to cross the plate for the loss. The first one turned out to be the winning run.
Ryan Tufts, Francis Martinez Carry Big Bats
Six of the Hillsboro Hops bats connected. None so more than Francis Martinez who went 3 for 4 and had two doubles. Ryan Tufts added two more hits of his own, one being his solo shot to lead off the third inning. But, like the night before, could not string enough hits together to take control for good.
The Vancouver Canadians did that in the sixth. Jake Bodt and Jesus Severino put together back to back singles before McGregory Contreras stepped up with his two RBI double. Along with their three other scores to match the Hops, it was enough of an obstacle to keep Hillsboro down on the ground.
One more Game Left
The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops to 23-14 as they wait out the first half. The Hops clinched a playoff berth and seem primed to compete for the second half. The win kept the Vancouver Canadians (19-18) hopes alive for the Northern Division first half crown. They are now tied in the win column with the Northern Division leading Everett Aquasox (19-17) with the Aquasox playing later tonight. One more Everett win or Tri-City loss will eliminate the Tri-City Dust Devils from the division crown.
Sharing opening ceremonial pitches with the Oregon State Beavers was another special guest. Jon Yoshiwara is the first Asian-American general manager in the history of baseball. He took the job at age 22 in 1977. Jon also was a utility infielder for the team that same year. The Portland Mavericks are revered for many accomplishments. To read more about them, click on the link.