Livan Soto’s Homer, Double, Tri City Dust Devils Welcome Hops 3-2
Livan Soto homered in the first inning grabbed the lead for the first time for the Tri City Dust Devils. His double grabbed the lead for the last time as they defeated the Hillsboro Hops 3-2 to start this week’s six-game series.
However, the game belonged mostly to the mound. The game featured nine hits total as compared to 26 strikeouts total. Hits were sparse but the paucity magnified the times where offense broke through.
Ryan Smith (W, 3-2) started for the Dust Devils and went seven full innings for the win, leaving only because his pitch count reached 89 tosses to the plate. During his time on the mound, Ryan threw 60 strikes and struck out nine of his 25 batters faced. Including the last three and five of his last six batters. He also started strong, retiring his first six batters in the game.
Kolton Ingram (S. 1) came on in relief to cover the eighth and ninth innings, striking out three of his seven batters for the save. His scoreless and hitless effort only magnified the control from the mound tonight.
From the Hops
Drew Jameson started for the Hops and lasted almost five full innings before reaching a 75 pitch count. He left the mound for good with the score tied at 2-2. But, during his times, he managed to add to his strikeout total with six more Ks in 4.1 innings. His totals now read 48 Ks in only 40.1 innings pitched. However, despite fine pitching performances from both sides, only one pitcher is designated the winner for the night.
Impressively, Julio Frias came on in relief and did even better. Julio struck out five of his seven batters faced. Julio has also struck out more batters (17) than innings he has pitched (15.2). But, again, he left the mound with the score tied so he also left the game with no decision. It was obvious that the game would be decided late.
Justin Lewis (L, 0-1) had the misfortune or opportunity to come in at the end with a win or lose chance and no middle ground offered. Justin struck out another three batters to add to the Hops 14 total for the game. But, misfortune for Lewis struck in the form of Livan Soto who doubled and scored the game winning run.
Livan Soto Starts
As I mentioned earlier, the offense was sparse but when it shined, by contrast, it shined like a Klieg light in the middle of a new moon after midnight. Naturally, the game started as it ended: with Livan Soto scoring a run. With the first pitch of the first Dust Devil inning, Livan sent a solo blast over the right-center fence notching an early 1-0 lead. With that start, the Dust Devils would get a base runner in every inning of the game. But, of the eleven base runners on the night for Tri City, only three would score.
The Dust Devils’ second run of the game came after Hillsboro tied the score. With one out in the third, Brendon Davis took first after being hit by a Jameson pitch. In a classic example of small ball, Brendon stole second and grabbed third when Hops catcher Nick Dalesandro’s errant throw went past second. Brendon came home on Francisco Del Valle’s RBI single. Tri City now had the lead again 2-1.
Livan Soto Finishes
But, the Hops tied the score one last time, setting the stage for Livan Soto to score again. With one out in the seventh, Livan was the second batter for Hops’ pitcher Justin Lewis to face tonight. Again, with the first pitch he saw at the plate, Livan ended up with a double when a pop up to Hops’ shortstop Blaze Alexander went awry. Livan ended up on third when an Alexander fielding error compounded the effort. With the next batter, Brandon Davis again, Soto came home on a sac fly to give the Dust Devils the lead for good.
Hops’ Spencer Brickhouse Homered
The Hillsboro Hops had their moments under the “Klieg lights” as well. But, their scoring was always in an effort to catch up instead of going past their hometown hosts. Spencer Brickhouse’s bat barrel has been waking up lately. In the top of the third, Spencer sent the game’s second and final home run of the night out past the right-center field fence to even the score.
After Brendon Davis gave the Dust Devils’ their second lead of the night, Eduardo Diaz came to the plate. Another power hitter for the Hops, Eduardo has been finding other ways to get the job done lately. This time, Eduardo took a four pitch walk from Ryan Smith and stole second base. Three batters later, Leodany Perez brought Eduardo home with his RBI single. The game was tied again for the second and last time.
The win helped the Tri City Dust Devils (19-35), who are right behind the Hillsboro Hops (22-31) in the standings, gain a game and are now only three and a half games behind their next step up the ladder. With Everett also losing tonight, the Hops remained twelve games back while the Dust Devils climbed to 15.5 games behind.
Both teams meet again Wednesday night for the second game of the six-game series. Tri City currently leads 1-0. Game time is 7:05 PM and will be on 620 AM radio. Blake Walston (0-1) will take the mound for Hillsboro. Hector Yan (0-5) will face him for Tri City. In the meantime, see how these two teams fared against each other the last time they met when I looked back at Week 6 of the Hops 2021 season.