Armani Smith, 2-Homers, Eugene Emeralds Over Hops 6-3
Armani Smith teamed with Will Wilson to hit back-to-back homers in the first inning. Then, Smith took it upon himself to hit a second homer in the following inning. This time with two runners on board. Those first two innings proved enough for the win as the Eugene Emeralds defeated the Hillsboro Hops 6-3.
Hops Limited to Two Runs
Four hits is all the Hops could muster against the Emeralds. It is a credit to the Hops they were able to turn those four hits into three runs. But, with the dearth of hitting, no Hops batter hit more than once. Luckily, the Hops also earned eight walks. All three of those runs initially reached base by a walk.
But, the Hops have the same recurring problem of getting runners on base but not getting them home. In this game, the Hops had four hits (all singles – Tristin English (1st), Eduardo Diaz (4th), Cam Coursey (7th) and Leodany Perez (9th)), eight walks (Jorge Barrosa (1st + 5th), Nick Dalesandro (2nd + 9th), Dom Canzone (3rd), Spencer Brickhouse (4th + 5th) and Cam Coursey (5th)) and one runner reached base on an error (Leodany Perez (7th)).
In total, the Hops had 13 base runners. Three scored, six left on base, one erased by a double play and three caught stealing. An efficiency of 23% of runners scoring. In comparison, Eugene’s percentage was 50%. They had twelve base runners and six of them scored. Since both teams had nearly identical base runners (13 (Hops) to 12 (Ems)), this is a case of percentage (also known as quality) winning over quantity.
Armani Smith, Quality Spreads Around
Back to back home runs in back to back innings? A batter can’t do much better than that. But, the Ems had plenty of quality in varying degrees to answer the needs of the inning. Not all of it was at the plate. Pitching led the way as well.
Seth Corry (W, 2-2) began the game and set the standard for the rest of the way. Going five innings, Corry allowed two runs on two hits. With a crew of bats like those the Ems have, those two runs were but a small blip on the scoreboard. Corry’s only bugaboo were the six walks allowed in five innings. Each of his five innings featured at least one walk. His last inning, the fifth, featured two walks. By then, he had thrown 87 pitches so it was no surprise that fatigue would start setting in.
Corry had plenty of help coming in behind him. Bryce Tucker threw a scoreless, hitless sixth. Jasier Herrera threw two innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. Closing, John Russell took the ninth and allowed a smaller blip by walking Nick Dalesandro, eventually scoring on Leodany Perez’ RBI single.
For the Hops, Blake Walston (L, 0-1) was chased in the second inning and took the loss. Justin Lewis, Drey Jameson and Denson Hull combined to hold the Ems scoreless and to one hit the rest of the way. Jameson was a welcome return from the injured list.
For the game, the Ems pitching allowed three runs on four hits and struck out eight and the Eugene Emeralds (32-17) are on a four game winning streak, a half game ahead of Everett. The loss dropped the Hillsboro Hops (19-29) another game to twelve and a half games below the Ems.
Both teams meet again Thursday night for game#3 of the series. Eugene currently leads 2-0. It will also be the first night that Ron Tonkin Field will be allowed a full 100% capacity. The first time since September of 2019. Almost two years ago.
Also of note, the Vancouver Canadians, co-tenants of Ron Tonkin Field this year, are announcing that kids will be free during the weekend of July 9th to July 11th. Check out their website. Also also add more detail in next week’s look back of week#9 coming out next Tuesday.
Until then, be sure to read my Look Back at Week#8 of the Hillsboro Hops 2021 season.