Tra Holmes, Hops Grab Strange Win Over Spokane Indians, 6-5
The Hillsboro Hops were handed a sweet victory on a strange night from the Spokane Indians 6-5. The strange part started before the first pitch when two Hops pitchers, Kevin Ginkel and Cal Becker, were ejected from the game for not taking their seat in the bullpen right away after the National anthem. Manager Shawn Roof argued for his players, especially when Spokane pitchers were doing the same thing and were not ejected. Umpire Chris Presley responded by giving Shawn his walking orders to the locker room.
The actions inspired the Hops to action. Down two of their key relievers and their manager, the Hops scored two runs in the top of the first when Eudy Ramos homered to center with Yan Sanchez on board for an early 2-0 lead.
Spokane spread four runs around over the next few innings to take a 5-3 lead into the final inning. That was where the Hops ignited again and took the lead for good. Daulton Varsho led off with a double and inspired a pitching change, bringing in Ismel Lopez to the mound. Varsho moved to third on consecutive walks to Tra’Mayne Holmes and Connor Owings by Lopez. The loaded bases watched another pitching change that brought Jacob Rogers in from the bullpen.
A third consecutive walk to Tim Susnara brought in Daulton Varsho and moved the Hops to within one run, bases loaded and no outs. Billy Endris and Stephen Smith were inserted to pinch run for Owings and Susnara. Yan Sanchez sent a grounder between the legs of short stop Jonah McReynolds to score Endris and Smith. The 6-5 score held on for the win.
Despite all of the offense, the Hops only managed five hits for the game. Luckily for the visiting team, that included Daulton Varsho’s lead-off double in the ninth, Eudy Ramos’ home run in the first and Tra’Mayne Holmes solo blast in the sixth. Helpful were the seven walks issued by Indians pitchers.
Jhoan Duran started for the Hops but left in the middle of the fifth inning with what appeared to be a shoulder injury with the Hops down 4-2. Matt Peacock and Junior Garcia came on with their usual fine relief performances holding the Indians to one score for almost three innings. Matt Brill (W, 1-0) came on in the eighth after Chad Smith’s lead-off solo blast to retire the next three batters. Brill was the pitcher of record when the Hops took the lead in the following inning for the win. Erbert Gonzalez (S, 5) closed the ninth for his fifth consecutive save.
Jacob Rogers (L, 0-1) made an appearance in the final inning for the loss. Rogers walked one run in and a fielding error allowed two inherited runners to score.
The win kept the Hillsboro Hops (13-10) one game ahead of the Eugene Emeralds in the south. The loss dropped the Spokane Indians (8-15) to eight games back of the Northern Division leading Vancouver Canadians. The five-game series between the two teams is tied at 1-1.
Both teams return to the field at Avista Stadium for the third game in what has become a tightly contested match between the two teams. Expected starters are RHP Mitchell Aker (0-4) for the Hops and RHP Tai Tiedemann (1-1) for the Indians.
Hops notes: center fielder Tra’Mayne Holmes made two astonishing catches in the same inning (7th) that drew appreciated applause from the opposing home crowd. In both instances, Holmes reached to his full extension while parallel to the ground to rob two Spokane batters of extra base hits. Add his offensive bat from tonight and the 11th round draft choice did it all for the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate.
By Greg Stoker