Hillsboro Hops, Ramon Hernandez Grand Slam Crushes Everett AquaSox, 9-4
The Hillsboro Hops were propelled by the bats of Ramon Hernandez and Luke Lowery in a showmanship of offense rarely seen together at any level. The Hops defeated the Everett AquaSox by the score of 9-4 but the story was of these two young men.
Ramon Hernandez went a perfect 5 for 5 at the plate with power in plentiful supply. Hernandez smacked a solo homer in the second inning over the left field wall for an early 1-0 lead and he was just getting warmed up. In the very next inning, he would outdo himself.
With the bases loaded, Ramon Hernandez stepped up to the plate with two outs. Luke Lowery doubled and went to third on Stephen Smith’s fielder’s choice. Second was manned by Justin Chigbogu who reached base by taking a wild pitch for the team. With the score still 1-0 from Hernandez last at bat, Ramon sent a deep hit to left field for the Hops first grand slam of the season. When Hernandez crossed the plate, he made the score 5-0 and his run would become the game winner by the end of the night.
After a single in the fifth, Ramon Hernandez added to his pile of deeds with a double in the seventh. In came Luke Lowery for Hernandez’ sixth RBI of the night. Before the inning was through, Connor Owings singled to right and brought home Justin Chigbogu and Hernandez for his third score of the night. In the ninth, Hernandez added a single for his fifth hit of the night.
On any other night, Luke Lowery would have been the star shining bright. Lowery went 4 for 5, scoring twice and hitting two doubles. Unfortunately, he picked a game in that Ramon was having a career night.
The Hops had fourteen hits in the game but Lowery and Hernandez had nine of them. The other five were spread out over Josh Anderson, Justin Chigbogu, Manny Jefferson and Connor Owings. Anderson had a nice night for himself as well, going 2 for 5 and singling in Marcus Wilson during the fourth. Jefferson’s hit was a double in the second just after Ramon Hernandez’ first home run of the night.
Bo Takahashi (W, 2-0) started for the Hops and took the win by spreading two runs on six hits over five innings. Jeferson Mejia and Riley Smith pitched scoreless innings. Mejia allowed one hit in the sixth and Smith doled out three hits over the eighth and ninth innings. Colin Poche came aboard for the seventh and allowed the AquaSox’s other two runs on two hits.
The AquaSox managed twelve hits of their own but left thirteen runners on base at the end of the innings. Austin Grebeck went 3 for 4 and scored once. Eric Filia went 2 for 4, knocked home Grebeck on a ground out and doubled in the fifth but was left standing at third at the end of the inning. Johan Quevedo had the other multiple hit game going 2 for 5, singled Bryson Brigman home in the fourth and seventh innings. Five other hits were shared among Ketel Marte (who doubled in the third), Jose Leal, Nick Zammarelli, Dimas Ojeda and Joe Venturino.
Reggie McLain (L, 0-3) started and lasted three innings before absorbing the loss from the Hernandez grand slam. McLain struck out five but allowed five runs on five hits. Jake Brentz tried to stick his finger in the dyke but allowed one run in the fourth and fifth on three hits. The leak got even bigger for Paul Covelle who allowed three more runs on four hits over the sixth and seventh innings. Finally, Michael Kovel kept the Hops scoreless on only two hits over the last two innings of the game.
With the win, the Hillsboro Hops (5-2) increased their lead atop the South Division to two games over Boise and Salem-Keizer. The Everett AquaSox (5-2) lost a game on their lead in the north over Spokane and Vancouver, whittling it down to just one game. Both teams return to Everett Memorial Stadium for the second game of the five game stand with the Hops leading it 1-0.
by Greg Stoker