Tim Susnara Delivers Walk Off Single as Hillsboro Hops Win, 5-4
The Hillsboro Hops gave the home crowd an exciting come from behind, walk-off win with an RBI single by catcher Tim Susnara in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Everett Aquasox 5-4. The winning hit behaved like a ground rule double as it went over the left fielder and bounced over fence but it was ruled a single for purposes of the game.
Tyler Keele started for the Hops and was relieved in the seventh with the score 3-0, a runner on base and no outs. The home crowd gave him a well-deserved ovation as he walked to the dugout. For six innings, Keele and the defense behind him did their best in keeping the score from being worse. The Aquasox stranded 13 runners on base. Due in no small part to the defense on the field.
The Hops outfield was chasing down fly balls right and left, literally. Right fielder Stephen Smith chased down five alone. Some were easy, others were made because of Smith’s hustle making it look easier than it was. Left fielder Yan Sanchez with his quick arm grabbed a line drive and threw to second quickly enough to catch Onil Pena between bases and he was run down for the double play. Center fielder Bryan Araiza chased his share down to the warning track.
The infield was quick on their feet as well. Shortstop Camden Duzenack made several reaching stops just to keep the ball in the infield and yet still managed to throw a couple of batters out at first. Third baseman Eudy Ramos and second baseman Paxton De La Garza were solid stoppers at their positions. First baseman Kyle Smith dug more than a couple of throws out of the dirt and saving a few overthrows while he was at it.
In all, the team was not perfect on the field. But, their mistakes were overshadowed by the efforts and hustling successes. It was enough to keep the crowd cheering.
The best, however, was saved for at the plate late in the game. The Hops inched their way towards the Aquasox and managed to tie it with a three-run seventh inning. Bryan Araiza’s two RBI single to center field brought the Hops to within one run. Bryan would later score in the inning on a fielding error by second baseman Joe Venturino to tie the game.
The stage was set for the bottom of the ninth. Eudy Ramos, Yan Sanchez and Paxton De La Garza singled or walked to load the bases with no outs. Needing one run to win the game, Daulton Varsho stepped to the plate. Varsho had hit a solo homer in the sixth for the Hops first score. This time, he hit into a fielder’s choice. Pavin Smith pinch-hit and popped up to third baseman Eugene Helder.
That was what faced Tim Susnara as he stood at the plate: bases loaded with two outs and the game tied. With a 2-1 count, Susnara smacked a deep line drive over the head of the left fielder Greifer Andrade that bounced over the fence. Tim was mobbed teammates and had a bucket off ice dumped on him before he could reach second base.
Junior Garcia (1-0) came on for the last three innings for the win. Matt Clancy (0-1) took the loss.
With the win, the Hillsboro Hops (7-8) gained on division leading Eugene Emeralds (9-6) and are now two games behind first place. The Everett Aquasox (7-8) remain three games behind the Tri-City Dust Devils and Vancouver Canadians who are tied for the northern lead.
Both teams return Friday night at Ron Tonkin Field for the second game of the five-game series. The game will be telecast on Comcast and is Superhero night where fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero or supervillain. Expected starters are Connor Grey (1-1) for the Hops and Ryne Inman (0-2) for the Aquasox.
Hops notes: Nate Robertson made a surprise appearance in the seventh inning with girlfriend, Jaime, to lead the home crowd in a rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. Nate played third base for the Hops in 2014 and 2015. He was on both NW League Championship teams. After the song, the holder of two championship rings surprised the crowd and his singing partner by getting down on his knees and proposed to Jamie with an engagement ring. (She said yes)
By Greg Stoker