Hillsboro Hops Take First Game Against Tri-City Dust Devils, 2-1
The Hillsboro Hops take a close one from the Tri-City Dust Devils to open the championship series, 2-1. Tight pitching and scattered hits ruled the night. The winning run came in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Dansby Swanson walked and moved to third on Grant Heyman’s single to center. The Dust Devils brought on Phil Maton to relieve Nathan Foriest on the mound. Trevor Mitsui then came up to the plate and walked to load the bases. Swanson scored from third on a Luis Veras single to center.
Ariel Hernandez, who relieved Kirby Bellow in the previous inning, returned to the mound in the final inning to hold the one-run lead but the Dust Devils did not go down easy. Austin Allen led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Mitch Morales. Mason Smith came to the plate pinch hitting for Jose Carlos Urena. Morales was thrown out trying to steal second. After Smith grounded out, Kodie Tidwell and Rod Boykin had back to back walks. With the tying run at second and the go ahead run at first, Justin Pacchioli grounded out into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
The Hops drew first blood in the bottom of the second when Luis Veras opened with a triple to center field and came home on Alexis Olmeda’s single to center.
The 1-0 lead stood until the top of the fifth. Rod Boykin took first with one out when he was hit by a pitch from starter Brett Shankin and moved to second on a Justin Pacchioli ground out to second. Boykin then hustled home on a Peter Van Gansen single to center.
Brett Shankin started for the Hops and went seven innings allowing one run on five hits. Kirby Bellow started the eighth and pitched to two batters before stepping away for Ariel Hernandez (1-0) to come on and close for the win.
Grant Heyman, Luis Veras and Stephen Dezzi all went 2 for 4 at the plate for the Hops. Veras scored a run and had the lone triple. Heyman had the lone double. Dansby Swanson went 1 for 2 and scored a run. Alexis Olmeda knocked in the first run of the game.
For the Dust Devils, Peter Van Gansen went 2 for 3 and knocked in Rod Boykin for the lone run. Ty France went 2 for 4 and Allen Austin went 1 for 3.
Adrian De Horta started for Tri-City and went four innings and allowed one run on five hits. Will Headean pitched a hitless fifth and sixth innings. Nathan Foriest (0-1) pitched the seventh and started the eighth allowing the winning run on two hits for the loss. Phil Maton closed allowing one hit.
Both teams will travel to Pasco, Washington to continue the Championship series. Game two will be Saturday evening. The Hillsboro Hops will be starting Cody Reed who went 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA in the regular season and was one of the three big aces the Hops featured. Angel Mejia will start for the Tri-City Dust Devils. Mejia went 6-3 and had a 4.95 ERA. The Hops lead the series 1-0 and can close out the series with a win on Saturday.
Game three, if necessary, will be on Sunday.
By Greg Stoker