On a night where neither team could hold onto the lead for very long, the team that came to bat last had the best chance to win. Finally, the Hillsboro Hops’ William Gorman lifted a three run blast in the bottom of the ninth. It sailed 364 feet over the right field fence for a walk-off win to open the five game series over the Vancouver Canadians, 8-5. Also, the 106 exit velocity raised the crowd to their feet.
It took a while for the home team to get on the board. With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Ryan January opened the door with his triple bouncing off the right field fence. Flying 383 feet, another few inches would have cleared the fence for a home run. Moments later, a passed ball by catcher Brett Wright let the Hops get their first score.
Hops Take First Lead
The Hops wouldn’t get the lead until the bottom of the seventh. So, with one out, Dan Swain and Jake McCarthy put together back to back walks to chase Juan Nunez from the mound. Swain scored on a throwing error by first baseman Jake Brodt when Geraldo Perdomo reached first on a fielder’s choice. Furthermore, the big blow of the inning came from Francis Martinez who doubled McCarthy and Perdomo home for the lead.
But, Vancouver would not lay down. In the top of the ninth, with two outs, the ninth batter in the order, Otto Lopez, stepped up and swatted a three run homer scoring Sterling Guzman and Brandon Polizzi to take back the lead, 5-4. Due to the deficit, the Hops had to come back to the plate just to stay alive, let alone possibly face extra innings for a game they were one out away from winning.
William Gorman Three Run Homer
Jake McCarthy started the bottom half of the ninth with a walk and continued over to second base because of Geraldo Perdomo’s walk. Jake scooted over to third on a double play erasing Perdomo and Andy Yerzy, putting two outs on the board. A wild pitch by Fitz Stadler brought McCarthy home to tie the game and set the stage for William Gorman and his heroics.
Kai-Wei Lin For Win
Matt Tabor started the game for the Hops. Except for the second inning in which two scores plated (only one earned), Tabor lasted a full five innings and struck out seven batters with only one walk. But, lack of run support by the Hops’ bats left the score 2-0 when it was Matt’s turn to let someone else take the mound. Of Tabor’s 73 pitches, he threw 51 strikes keeping Canadians bats dancing over the plate.
Wesley Rodriguez came next pitching for the sixth, seventh and most of the eighth innings. Like Tabor, Rodriguez threw the majority of strikes (22 of 31) to keep Vancouver scoreless and hitless. When Wesley left the mound, he was in place for the win if the Hops could hold on.
Kai-Wei Lin (W, 3-1) took the mound for the closing arguments. It was not enough to keep Vancouver from scoring three runs and taking a one run lead. Luckily, Hops bats returned and handed the Hops the win with their second come back of the night. Fitz Stadler received the loss (L, 0-2).
The win increased the Southern Division leading Hillsboro Hops (6-3) lead to two games. The loss dropped the Vancouver Canadians (5-4) into a three-way tie for second place. They are one game behind the Northern Division leading Spokane Indians (6-3). Both teams return to Ron Tonkin Field for game two Thursday night.
Each week I am taking a look at former Hops climbing the ladder to the major leagues. This week’s installment looks at the AAA Reno Aces. One step away from their dreams. Check them out.