Hillsboro Hops Shine at the All-Star Game
The Hillsboro Hops, backed by winning the first half which guaranteed a playoff spot, were honored last month by sending four of their players to the All-Star Game. Pitcher Jared Miller was chosen to start and was joined by teammates Cody Reed and Carlos Hernandez, and outfielder Zach Nehrir, but before they could reach Spokane, Nehrir sprained his left wrist. He still went but was replaced in the line-up by the Spokane Indians Jose Carlos Urena. Likewise, Cody Reed earned an All-Star invitation but will also be unable to play.
The Hops went from four all-stars down to two. Those two were the first two pitchers for the NW League. Jared Miller started the first two innings while Carlos Hernandez relieved Miller.
Miller started off being touched by Grand Junction Rockies Daniel Suero for a hard drive down the right field line for a stand-up double. The Orem Owls’ Michael Pierson followed, popping up on a 1-2 count to shortstop Drew Jackson of the Everett Aquasox. Isan Diaz of the Missoula Osprey struck out on four pitches. Miller got out of the inning when Zach Fish of the Great Falls Voyagers popped up to first baseman Brian Mundell of the Boise Hawks. Daniel Suero was left stranded at second. After a hard hit and a runner in scoring postion, Miller managed to live for another inning.
The second inning would come back to bite Miller. Austin Byler of the Missoula Osprey would ground out to first baseman Brian Mundell, who stepped on the bag for an unassisted out. Taylor Ward of the Orem Owls followed a 2-1 count driving a hard hit home run over the left center field wall. The one pitch that tied the game was surrounded by three groundouts, two fly balls and a strikeout. Miller would end the inning with two groundouts to third baseman Michael Pierson by Nick Sell of the Ogden Raptors and Jensen Park of the Grand Junction Rockies.
Jared Miller’s final line was one run on two hits and one strike out. Many of his pitches danced around the plate and performed like he knew they would. It was those two pitches that gave up the home run and a double that frustrated him. His turn was over and Miller spent the rest of the game in the dugout enjoying watching his teammates win the game and sharing their excitement of being an all-star.
Fellow Hops teammate Carlos Hernandez relieved Miller on the mound. Hernandez had just broken the Hops season record for strikeouts with another month to go and the honor of being an all-star was well deserved. With a 1-0 count, Brantley Bell popped up to the second baseman Dylan Moore of the Spokane Indians.
Up came Daniel Suero, who had doubled against Hernandez’ teammate Miller in the first inning. Suero would treat Hernandez the same by smashing another double to the right center gap. Suero slid into second as the relay bounced past the bag. Michael Pierson came up to the plate and on the second pitch of an 0-1 count, Hernandez threw a wild pitch to the backstop. Suero flew to third. On the next pitch, Pierson grounded to second baseman Dylan Moore of the Spokane Indians while Suero came home on the throw to first. After a nine pitch full count walk to Missoula Osprey Isan Diaz, it was time for another pitcher.
Carlos Hernandez final line was one run on one hit with a walk and no strike outs for the NW League leader in K’s.
When Van Gansen knocked in the winning run, the NW League All-Stars erupted out of the dugout for a mass celebration on the field. Hops Jared Miller followed the mass carrying a barrel of (assuming) Gatorade by himself. He lifted it high over his head and dumped it in the middle of the pile getting as many teammates wet as he could. Miller then tossed the empty barrel aside and joined in with the boisterous atmosphere, everyone jumping up and down.
By Greg Stoker