Eugene Emeralds Take First-Half Crown, Defeat over Hillsboro Hops, 4-0
The Hillsboro Hops were eliminated from the first half crown tonight when they were defeated by the Eugene Emeralds 4-0. The Hops, who are two time defending NWL champions haven’t lost the first or second half crown since early 2013. That makes five consecutive half season crowns. The season isn’t over yet, it just gets reset after five more games for a total of thirty eight. The Hops will need to win the second half if they want a chance to defend their championship.
After both teams scored heavily last night in a game that the Hops came from behind to win 9-7, runs were harder to come by tonight. Even more so for the Hops who were blanked with only two hits on the night. Ramon Hernandez singled in the first with two outs and Justin Chigbogu singled in the fourth. Neither runner made it to second.
There was some excitement later on. In the seventh, Ramon Hernandez walked and reached second but was thrown out at third on Luke Lowry’s fielder’s choice. Lowry managed to steal second before the inning was over but made it no further.
With two outs in the eighth, Mark Karaviotis and Marcus Wilson both walked but watched Luis Silverio ground out to short to end the inning. For the ninth, Ramon Hernandez reached base for the third time on the night with a fielding error but was next part of a double play to clear the bases.
All in all, it was a night of close calls and might-have-beens, leaving five men on base, three in scoring position.
The Emeralds were a little more efficient for the game. Wladimir Galindo went 2 for 4 and scored the games first run in the second off of Vimael Machin’s sacrifice fly. Robert Garcia blasted a solo shot over the right field fence in the third. In the fifth, Connor Myers tripled home Trent Giambrone and then scored off of DJ Wilson’s sacrifice fly to right. Yeiler Peguerro and Marcus Mastrobuoni also hit safely.
Jose Paulina (4-0) started for the Emeralds and blazed through seven innings allowing the only two Hops hits and striking out seven for the win. Wyatt Short and Jared Cheek both pitched hitless innings in the eighth and ninth.
Wei-Chieh Huang (0-1) lost his first game for the Hops, lasting four innings before being pulled after two earned runs on four hits. Kevin Ginkel came on for the next three innings to hold the Emeralds back but was not successful. Two more runs were scored on three hits. Finally, Curtis Taylor pitched the ninth, striking out the side.
The Hillsboro Hops (16-17) lost a game on the North Division Champion Eugene Emeralds (23-10) falling seven games back with five left to go. Eugene took the three game series 2-1 to clinch the first half crown.
Hillsboro will travel to Tri-City for a five game series with the Dust Devils, facing the team they defeated for last year’s NW League Championship. Eugene will hit the road for a five game series of their own with the Vancouver Canadians.
By Greg Stoker