Dom Canzone’s Homer, Hillsboro Hops Poke Past Ems, 3-2
Dom Canzone’s homer completed the fifth inning with his sixth homer of the season with Jorge Barrosa on base. It gave the visiting team a 3-0 lead that stood up for the rest of the game. The Eugene Emeralds took one last stab in the ninth but came up short as the Hops took the game 3-2.
Blake Walston Gives Another Hops Quality Start
The story of the game turned out to be one part home runs and nine parts pitching. It was an easy recipe for the Hops to follow. As long as the Emeralds followed suit. But, it all depended on the mound. The Hops seem to have found their groove. In recent games, Hops starters have pitched deep into the games and gave their team solid, quality starts.
Tonight, Blake Walston (W, 1-1) got his groove on to the tune of 98 pitches over eight innings. Blake dominated the Ems with eleven strikeouts and only one walk. When he left after eight innings for Yaramil Hiraldo to save the ninth, he left the Hops with a 3-1 lead. A potential perfect game lasted until the sixth inning when Walston led off with a walk to the Ems’ Franklin Labour. The no-hitter lasted until seventh when a solo blast from Brett Auerbach also took away a chance for a shutout.
Yaramil Hiraldo (S, 4) came on and earned his fourth save of the season but not without some drama. The first two outs went smoothly. That third out turned out to be more difficult. Armani Smith singled and moved to third on Sean Roby’s double. Tyler Fitzgerald stepped up to the plate with the tying runs in scoring position and a chance to deliver a walk off win for his home team.
Tyler Fitzgerald Comes Close
It almost happened. Fitzgerald smacked a single that easily scored Smith to bring the Ems to within one run. Roby saw a chance to score from second and give his team the tie. But, he may not have seen Eduardo Diaz throw out a run at the plate last week to help pitcher Brandon Pfaadt keep his historic shutout. If not, he saw the rerun tonight. Diaz fired a straight shot to catcher Nick Dalesandro and Nick tagged Roby at the plate to end the game.
The Hops ended the game with a highlight defensive play but the win would not have happened with the exciting offensive play of the fifth inning. The Ems’ starter, Conner Nurse (L, 1-6), kept the Hops off the scoreboard for the first four innings.
However, the Hops were not quiet through those four innings. After a three-up, three-down first inning, the Hops made some noise but they couldn’t get the firecracker to go off. Andy Yerzy doubled in the second but was stranded at second. Jorge Barrosa doubled in the third but stopped at the same viewpoint as Andy the previous inning. The fourth saw Blaze Alexander walk and then move to second on Eduardo Diaz’ single.
Dom Canzone’s Homer Lights Sky
All three innings, the base runner could not get past the middle base. The fifth saw that happen and more. That firecracker they were trying to light turned out to be a Roman Candle. With one out, Cam Coursey doubled ( a familiar theme tonight). Cam scored on Jorge Barrosa’s second double of the night. Dom Canzone’s homer lit up the night sky and brought Jorge home along with him. It was the only inning the Hops scored but it was all they needed tonight for a close win.
The win helped the Hillsboro Hops (29-36) keep pace with Everett, who also won tonight, at 14 games behind. But, the win also raised the Hops into a tie with fourth place Spokane. The loss dropped the Eugene Emeralds (38-28) down to five and a half games behind Everett. The Hops take an early lead in the series, 1-0.
Both teams meet again in PK Park for Game#2, Wednesday night. Hops’ fans can watch the game on MiLB.tv or listen to it on 620 AM radio. Also, my look back at Week 11: History in the Making is now up and running. Check it out.