Week 9 Look Back: Flipping the Switch – Hillsboro Hops
Week 9 Look Back: With the Eugene Emeralds coming to town for the week, the question was not will the Hillsboro Hops lose, but will the Hops win? The last time these two teams met, just a short week before last, the Ems swept the Hops. So, it was no surprise when the Hops lost the first game between these two for this week. Or the second game. But, when the Hops lost the third, another sweep came to mind.
Week 9: Flipping the Switch
Except… there was no big inning by the Emeralds this time around. Instead, it was a close, hard fought win by the visitors over an aggressive Hops team. No more feeling like a big inning loomed over their shoulders. In fact, the Hops swung the bat like they thought they could win this game. Was the switch flipping before our eyes?
Game four broke the losing streak. Another close, hard fought game. This time with the Hops coming out the winner. Then game five featured another big inning. This time by the Hops as they jumped to a big lead.
By the time the sixth and final game came along, the Hops could earn a split in the series instead of the sweep that some fans had feared. Lo and behold, the Hops pulled the third win off. The game felt more like a playoff game than the regular season. Well to the Hops anyway. Eugene played the last game listless. Their aggression at the plate was missing. It was almost as if the two teams had switched uniforms. Or at least spirit. Now, I am not only curious as to how the Hops do this week, but looking forward to seeing who they can gain ground on.
Week 9: Game by Game
Week 9: Game#1 Hops lose 2-8
The Hops never led in this one but there was hope almost until the end. The lead was never greater than two until the Return of the Big Inning. This time, the Emeralds exploded for four runs in the eighth. It may not seem that big of a lead but before the inning started, the Hops were only down by two with two innings to go. After those three outs, the Hops were down six with two innings to go. Eugene leads the series 1-0.
Week 9: Game#2 Hops lose 3-6
This time, the Emeralds got the Big Inning over and finished by the end of the second inning with three homers, a double and six runs. The Ems cruised to a win, 6-3.
Part of that cruise is credit due to the return of Drew Jameson. Coming back from the injured list, Drew pitched four innings of no-run, no-hit ball. Eugene leads the series 2-0.
Week 9: Game#3 Hops lose 1-3
This time, there was no Big Inning. No back to back home runs though there were back to back doubles. Instead, two starting pitchers faced off against each other. The Hops’ Brandon Pfaadt pitched a better game than the previous in which he won, yet this time he lost. Brandon went seven innings on 95 pitches. The victor, the Ems’ Aaron Phillips went another seven innings throwing 91 pitches. Eugene was always in command of the lead but Hillsboro remained within striking distance with the tying run at least on deck if not on base at all times. In the end, the Ems still walked away in command. Eugene leads the series 3-0.
Week 9: Game#4 Hops win 4-2
The Hops finally break the losing streak. The five game losing streak that started the previous week against Spokane. The ten game losing streak against the Emeralds that dates back to the second week of the season.
Jorge Barrosa, a short week into his stay with the Hops, doubled home Reece Hampton for the go ahead and eventual winning run for the Hops. The Ems lead the series 3-1.
Week 9: Game#5 Hops win 8-5
The Hops beat the Ems at their own game. They had their big inning in the bottom of the first and never trailed afterwards. Even when the Ems tied it back up in the next inning, the Hops responded quickly, taking the lead back.
Eduardo Diaz also showed signs of returning back to normal. Previously in the series, he started a hitting streak that hinted his power may be on the way back. Tonight, it erupted as a three run homer in the first that contributed to the Hops’ big inning. Hops win their second game in a row and trail in the series 2-3. After being down 3-0, the Hops can now even the series and earn a split if they win Sunday night.
Week 9: Game#6 Hops win 6-1
The Hops slowly built up a 6-0 lead. By the time, the Ems scored their one and only run for the night, it was the ninth inning.
Even more refreshing was the return of the Hops home run ball. Dominic Canzone set the tone with his first inning solo blast. In the fifth, Canzone singled home Cam Coursey only to be followed by Canzone coming home on Tristin English’s single. Score 3-0 and Canzone had his hand in all three runs.
Then the home runs picked up. Spencer Brickhouse homered with Blaze Alexander on base in the sixth. Tristin English whacked his solo shot in the seventh. More importantly, the Hops accomplished what few thought they could come close to doing. They fought their way back after being down 3-0 in the series to earn the series split.
Week 9: Transactions
6/28 Luvin Valbuena
Sent to the AZL-D’backs from the Hillsboro Hops.
6/29 Bryan Valdez
Sent to the AZL-D’backs on rehab assignment.
6/30 RHP Drey Jameson
Activated from 7-day injured list. Originally placed on June 20th.
6/30 RHP Conor Grammes
Placed on the 7-day injured list. Grammes came to the Hops three days into the 2021 season. He originally played for the Hops in 2019.
7/1 RHP Yaramil Hiraldo
Hiraldo came to the Hops back on May 3rd as a promotion from the Visalia Rawhide, but was put on the injured list on the 20th. He is now activated to resume his stay with the Hops.
7/3 RHP Taylor Widener
Sent to the Hops on an injury rehab assignment. Originally put on the injured list on April 28th for a right groin strain, Widener was sent to the Reno Aces to begin his rehab on May 18th. Five days later, Widener was activated but put right back on the injured list two days later. On June 28th, Widener again started a rehab assignment, this time with the ACL Dbacks. He now continues that with the Hops.
Hops’ Performances for Week 9
Across the board, the Hops generally showed an uptick in their performance. None more than Cam Coursey who batted .312 for the week and raised his average 15 points. Team-wise, the Hops increased their scoring from 21 to 24 over the last week. Their hits increased from 35 to 42 from the week before. Even more impressive, their power went from 49 total bases to 64.
Ten different Hops scored a run this past week with Spencer Brickhouse leading the team with four. Three different Hops led the team with five hits. More telling perhaps is that five more Hops were right behind with four hits apiece. A sign that the bats are picking up.
Extra base hits were a mixed bag. Doubles increased by a slight margin with Cam Coursey leading the team with two. Triples fell this week as Reece Hampton was the only Hops batter to record one. Home runs increased four fold, mostly due to the last game. The Hops had four for the week, all by four different batters.
Pitching showed some new blood and the return of old blood. Ty Jones and Justin Vernia both helped break the losing streak earning a win each. Kenny Hernandez, who had worn a Hops uniform off and on since 2018, pitched seven shutout innings to earn the third win and the series split.
The Hops So Far
Blaze Alexander continued leading most of the offensive categories, still holding the top spots on At Bats (141), Runs (22), Hits (33), doubles (9) and total bases (51). Alexander (2) lost the lead in triples to Reece Hampton (3). Reece not only has the lead in triples but still maintains his lead in OPS (.762). Tristin English (14) lost his lead in RBI to Andy Yerzy (17). Andy (6) also still has his lead in home runs. Nick Dalesandro (18) and Blaze Alexander (18) took over the lead in walks from Reece Hampton (17). Finally, Jorge Barrosa (.263) still leads the Hops in batting percentage.
Promotions have depleted the pitching ranks somewhat. That still leaves the Hops competitive on the mound. Kenny Hernandez (3) is the current leader in wins. Nick Snyder, who is now sporting a bun in the back, leads with five saves.
From Our Vancouver Canadian Roommates – Kids Get in Free
Have you been to see the Vancouver Canadians at Ron Tonkin Field yet? Here’s your chance to bring the family. Next weekend, July 9th-11th, two kids get in free with a paid adult. When you purchase your adult ticket, be sure to get the two free kids tickets that go along with it.
Games will be against the Spokane Indians. Game times are 7:05 PM for Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s game starts at 1:05 PM. Also on Sunday, the game features the kids Run Around the Bases after the game. Oh, and also free parking.
For your tickets, call 604-872-5232 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know more about our Canadian roommates and why they are here? Check out my pre-season look at how and why they came to be tenants of Ron Tonkin Field.
Even though the Hops will be in Tri City for the week playing the Dust Devils, you can still listen to the game on 620 AM radio. You can find the link on the Hillsboro Hops home page. Alas, I won’t be giving half inning updates while they are on the road but I will return the week of 7/13 to 7/18 when the Hops come back home to host the Vancouver Canadians.