Yan Sanchez Cycles Volcanoes out of Park, Hops Win 17-2
The Hillsboro Hops are back all the way and they proved it with a 17-2 drubbing of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Wednesday night at the Volcanoes Stadium. The win vaulted them into sole possession of first place in the Southern Division as Eugene’s loss dropped them into a second-place tie with the Boise Hawks.
The Hops pounded the Volcanoes with four runs in the third, three in the fifth, two in the sixth, four in the seventh and four in the ninth.
The offense was led by Yan Sanchez’ historic performance of going for the cycle. In six plate appearances, Sanchez, singled, doubled, tripled and homered to go with a walk and a strikeout. All nine batters scored at least one run and eight of the nine hit safely at least twice in the game. Over all, the Hops went 25 for 50 at the plate, walked six times and scored 17 runs on 15 RBIs.
Daulton Varsho could have been the team MVP on any other night as he went 5 for 6 with a double and a home run, scoring twice with three RBI. First round pick Pavin Smith went 4 for 5 with a double and scored three times. Brian Araiza went 3 for 4 with a double and a triple, scoring three times. Four different Hops doubled, two tripled and three homered. This would have been the ultimate dream game of all dream games for a fantasy baseball owner who had the Hops tonight.
Yet, all of this overshadowed the fine performance by the Hops pitching staff. The Hops used three pitchers for the whole night and they teamed up to hold the Volcanoes to two runs on eight hits while striking out seven and issuing absolutely zero walks.
The Hops were led by starting pitcher Connor Grey (W, 3-1) who went six innings on only 72 pitches, 51 of them strikes. Luis Castillo pitched two hitless innings to set up closer Anfernee Benitez. The Volcanoes tried to wake up for the ninth as they scored one run on three hits before Benitez shut and locked the door on them. It was far too little too late.
The Volcanoes Alejandro De La Rosa (L, 1-1) started for Salem-Keizer lasting two and a two thirds innings before four runs on seven hits and three walks ended his night. It seemed that no one the Volcanoes sent could stop the bleeding. John Timmons came on for another two and two thirds innings for five runs on seven hits and a walk. Aaron Phillips pitched one inning and gave up four runs on three hits.
Kendry Melo and Garrett Cave seemed to find the control in almost two innings of scoreless, three hit relief. All of that security went away in the final inning when closer Al Ramirez took the mound and the Hops tagged him for four more runs on five hits.
S-K batters Bryce Johnson and Logan Baldwin had the only multi-hit games for the Volcanoes. Orlando Garcia scored the only other Volcano run with a solo shot in the fourth inning off of starter Connor Grey.
The Hillsboro Hops swept the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the short two-game series. The Volcanoes fell to four games behind the division leading Hops with the loss. Thursday night, the Hops will travel to Spokane for a five game homestand in the eastern Washington home of the Indians. Salem-Keizer will travel to play the Everett Aquasox in a five-game series of their own.
By Greg Stoker