Hillsboro Hops Stop Late Rally by Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, 4-3
The final game of the first half of the NorthWest League season ended with a breath of relief when the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes came from four down to make it a one-run game. The Hillsboro Hops held on to win, 4-3.
Jared Miller (7-1) started for the Hops with an excellent presence on the mound. Until the eighth inning, Miller only allowed one hit and no runs with one walk and seven strikeouts. In that eighth inning, Miller allowed three runs on two hits and hit two batters. It was time for Ariel Hernandez (S-2) to come save the game. Hernandez faced the final five batters, walking one and striking out one for the save.
The starting pitcher for the Volcanoes, Logan Webb (3-2), went five innings for the loss. Webb allowed two runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Scoring started in the bottom of the fifth. Leading off, the Hops’ Alexis Olmeda looped a single into shallow right center. Gerard Hernandez followed by sending the next pitch just barely over the outstretched glove of right fielder Steven Duggar and the fence for a home run.
The Hops continued scoring in the bottom of the sixth. Stephen Dezzi lined a single to shallow center field. Gerard Hernandez, who homered in the previous inning, looped a ball to shallow left field. Outfielder Julio Pena made a valiant effort trying for a sliding basket catch but Pena could not quite reach the ball as it bounced past him. Dezzi advanced to third and Hernandez stood at second. Nate Irving singled up the middle to drive home both Dezzi and Hernandez. The throw to the plate was late as Hernandez crossed the plate.
The Volcanoes would make it closer than the Hops would have liked in the eighth inning. Richard Amion led off the inning with a walk on a full count. With Julio Pena at the plate, a passed ball by catcher Alexis Olmeda allowed Amion to scoot over to second. Pena was then hit by a pitch and took his base. Brad Moss was also hit by a pitch loading the bases. John Riley hit a sharp grounder to first. Trevor Mitsui handled play nicely, saving the potential hit getting past him. Mitsui tagged the bag for the force out. Runners advanced and Amion came home to score. Christian Lichtenthaler grounded to second where Fernery Ozuna bobbled the ball and came up with no throw. Julio Pena scored and Moss went over to third. Steven Duggar lined a ball over to short stop Sergio Alcantara who again bobbled the ball but recovered in time to throw Duggar out at first. Moss scored on the play.
That was it for Hops starting pitcher Jared Miller. Ariel Hernandez came on to relieve and settle things down. Ronnie Jebavy flew out to center field advancing Lichtenthaler to third and Steven Duggar to second. The potential tying run was now 90 feet away and the go ahead run waited at second. Chris Shaw grounded out to Alcantara at short to end the inning.
For the Hops, Fernery Ozuna went 3 or 4. Gerard Hernandez went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Nate Irving went 2 for 3 with two RBI. Stephen Dezzi and Alexis Olmeda also scored a run each.
The Volcanoes were held to two hits. One by Steven Duggar and the other by Miguel Gomez.
The Hillsboro Hops (22-16) won the first half of the season by two games. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (20-18) end in second place. The second half starts Monday night when the win-loss records are erased back to zero. Both teams will continue the three-game series with game two Monday night. The Hops lead the series 1-0.
By Greg Stoker