Hillsboro Hops, Luis Veras’ Bat Stay Ahead of Boise Hawks, 8-4
In their first game after the All-Star break, The Hillsboro Hops came back to an enthusiastic crowd ready to cheer them on. The Hops gave the fans what they wanted from their defending Northwest League Champions and current first-half champions. By controlling the game, the Hops scored when they needed to stay ahead on their way to defeat the Boise Hawks, 8-4.
Their big inning came in the fourth when the Hops sent eight men to the plate. Luis Veras started it off with a chop single near the mound and beat the throw to first. Gerard Hernandez then walked on four straight pitches. Sergio Alcantara lined a drive just over the infield to left. Veras hustled from second and manager/third base coach Shelley Duncan gave him the windmill, motioning Veras all the way home for the first score of the inning. Galli Cribbs, Jr., walked on four straight pitches to load the bases.
Fernery Ozuna continued the fourth with a sacrifice to left field. Gerard Hernandez tagged and came home for the second run of the inning. Alexis Olmeda cracked a line drive just over the leaping shortstop, Carlos Herrera, for a single. Sergio Alcantara sped home from second with what would prove to be the winning run — five innings later.
Starting pitcher for the Hops, Alex Young, made his Hops debut in the first inning. He allowed one hit in his one inning. Young is the 2015 second round draft pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks out of TCU. His first pro appearance was on 8/1 when he pitched one inning in the Rookie Level Arizona League before being assigned to Hillsboro. Young is expected to move up the ladder to the next step after his short appearance with the Hops.
Tyler Mark(1-0), a 2015 sixth round draft pick, relieved Young and pitched the next four innings for the win. Mark struck out five while allowing two runs (one earned).
Starting pitcher Logan Sawyer (2-4) pitched the first four innings for the loss. Sawyer allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits, struck out three and walked two.
The scoring started in the second inning. Trevor Mitsui grounded to third baseman Kevin Padlo, but Padlo’s throw pulled first baseman Brian Mundell off the bag. Luis Veras singled to left. On a strange play, Gerard Henderson popped up to what should have been a routine catch. With the left fielder, third baseman and short stop all trying to get underneath the pop fly, the ball fell safely between the three fielders. Meanwhile, Mitsui was still at first waiting for the ball to be caught. Carlos Herrera picked up the ball and threw to pitcher Logan Sawyer covering third for the force out. Sergio Alcantara then smashed a hard hit ball off the right field fence for a stand up double and scored both runners.
In the bottom of the third, Fernery Ozuna led off with his team leading fourth triple of the season off the left center field fence. Alexis Olmeda sacrificed to right field to score Ozuna.
After the Hops big inning, the Hawks chopped a little bit off the lead off when Carlos Herrera singled up the middle. Hawks’ 2015 All Star, Kevin Padlo, lined a tight ball down the left field line and to the corner. Herrera hustled all the way from first and scored.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Hops took back what they gave. Trevor Mitsui led off by being hit by a pitch. With Luis Veras at the plate, Dylan Thompson threw a wild pitch and Mitsui was at second. Then Veras slapped a single to right, scoring Mitsui.
There was more to come in the seventh. In the top of the inning, Marcos Derkes walked with two outs. With Kevin Padlo at the plate, Derkes quickly beat the throw and stole second. Padlo then walked on a full count. Brian Mundell smacked a stand up double to the left centerfield fence scoring both base runners.
The Hops came up with an insurance run in the bottom. Josh Anderson led off with a small chop near the pitcher’s mound, reaching first on a fielding error. Trevor Mitsui followed with a one hop single to left field. With Carlos Hernandez at the plate, a wild pitch put both men on base in scoring position. On his ninth pitch, Hernandez sacrificed to left field to score Anderson.
Luis Veras shined for the Hops, going 3 for 4 and scoring two runs. Sergio Alcantara went 2 for 4 with three RBI and scored one run. Alexis Olmeda went 1 for 3 with two RBI
The Hawks had plenty of bats but left 16 men on base. Kevin Padlo, Brian Mundell and Terry McClure all went 2 for 4 but only Padlo scored (once). Padlo also had an RBI while Mundell had two RBI. Carlos Herrera went 2 for 5 and scored once.
The Hillsboro Hops (4-4) moved out of the basement but still remain two games behind South Division leader Salem-Keizer. The Boise Hawks (3-5) fell one game below the Hops for last place in the division. Both teams meet for the second game of the three game series Friday night.
By Greg Stoker