Andy Yerzy Belted Walk-Off Homer, Leads Hillsboro Hops Past Tri-City 5-3
Andy Yerzy stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two men on base, two outs and down by one run in a perfect Hollywood script. In true casting call fashion, Andy Yerzy belted one over the right field fence just left of the foul pole to help the Hillsboro Hops take the first game of the championship series from the Tri-City Dust Devils 5-3.
It took awhile for the Hops to finally get it into gear. Credit starting pitcher for the Dust Devils Ignacio Feliz. For six strong, tough innings, he kept the Hops to one hit with 69 pitches. But, the Hops were able to get four base runners during that time even though Feliz did not issue a walk or hit a batter.
Fielding errors allowed three Hops to reach base. The Dust Devils lead the NW League in errors committed during the regular season but those errors did not come back to haunt them this time around. You can thank Feliz for that. During his tenure on the mound, he struck out seven batters.
For the longest time, Dominic Canzone held the Hops lone hit of the evening after he singled in the fifth inning. But, the Hops started waking up in the eighth. Before he became the game’s hero in the ninth, Andy Yerzy belted a double in the eighth. Ricky Martinez singled Yerzy home for the Hops first run of the game making the score 2-1 in favor of Tri-City. By the time the Hops returned to the plate in the ninth, Jack Stronach doubled home Kevin Melean for the Dust Devils to make it 3-1.
Dan Dallas, who rescued the Dust Devils by pitching out of a jam in the eighth, started the ninth with a ground out. Then the dam burst. Dominic Canzone reached base again, this time after being hit by a pitch. Liover Peguero and Corbin Carroll joined him to load the bases with two walks. Jesus Marriaga smashed a sacrifice fly to score Canzone bringing the Hops to within one run.
No problem. Andy Yerzy came up next facing the goat or GOAT decision. When Andy Yerzy belted a deep ball to right field, the only question apparent was would it remain fair? It did by a few feet. Cue the fireworks as the Hops took the first game in the NW League championship series.
Brennan Malone closed the ninth for the win (W, 1-0). Dan Dallas (L, 0-1) gave up three runs in the ninth for the loss.
The win came on a night when success shared throughout the Diamondbacks organization. The Jackson Generals defeated the Montgomery Biscuits tonight to enter the championship round of the AA Southern League. Tonight’s victory was powered by a three run homer by former Hops (2017) Pavin Smith. Daulton Varsho (2017 Hops) leads the team in many categories. Tonight’s lineup also featured many former Hops alumni such as Camden Duzenack (2017), Ben DeLuzio (2016), Drew Ellis (2017), Ramon Hernandez (2016), Ryan Grotjohn (2017), Cole Stapler (2018), Kevin McCanna (2017), West Tunnell (2018) and Galli Cribbs, Jr. (2014/15).
The Visalia Rawhide won the second half championship of the Northern Division High A California League. Yesterday, they took a 2-0 lead in the first round over the San Jose Giants. Featured in that lineup are former Hops Geraldo Perdomo (2018), Jose Herrera (2018), Jorge Perez (2017/18), Mack Lemieux (2016), and Cameron Gann (2015).
The Kane County Cougar (full season A) also clinched their second half division, a theme that seems to be common among the Diamondbacks. They have already been eliminated in the first round but not before featuring a few former Hops in their last lineup: Keyshawn Lynch (2018), Joey Rose (2016/18), Kristian Robinson (2019), Tra Holmes (2017/18), Steven Leyton (2019), Matt Tabor (2018), Erin Baldwin (2019), Jackson Goddard (2018), Kai-Wei Lin (2018 and Yaramil Hiraldo (2019).
In addition, even the Rookie League Missoula Osprey made the playoffs which every year features many future Hops on their squad. That makes five of the six farm teams making the playoffs. A sure sign of a promising future.
Consequently, the next game between the Hillsboro Hops and the Tri-City Dust Devils is tomorrow, Sunday, at 5:05 PM at Ron Tonkin Field. Therefore, be sure to follow the Minor League Sports Report for game recaps and more of minor league teams across the country. Also, follow me on Twitter for half inning updates on all Hops games during the playoffs.