Spokane takes four-of-six from home Hops
One step forward, two steps back — that's what the Hillsboro Hops' season continues to feel like.
After taking five of six from Everett the week prior, Hillsboro dropped the first three of their six-game set with Spokane Aug. 9 to Aug. 14 and ultimately lost four of six to the visiting Indians, dropping further behind first-place Eugene and watching their postseason hopes get slimmer and slimmer.
Despite outhitting the visiting Indians .256 to .234 over the entirety of the series, the Hops were done in by a couple of one-run defeats and a big first inning in Saturday's 9-4 loss that tipped the scales in favor of Spokane.
On the bright side, Hops starting pitcher Scott Randall threw his second consecutive gem, allowing a single earned run on four hits while striking out five in 7 2/3 innings of work.
Over his last two starts, Randall has allowed just a single earned run on seven hits, while striking out 11 and walking two in 13 2/3 innings.
At the plate, infielder Gary Mattis was 6-for-17 on the week and is batting .409 in his seven games in Hillsboro.
Shortstop Jordan Lawlar continued his assault on Northwest League pitching by hitting .500 against the Indians and improving to .400 over his last 10 games.
And 19-year-old Deyvison De Los Santos — while cooling off a little — again flashed his potential, leading the team with six RBIs versus Spokane.
Since arriving in Hillsboro three weeks ago, the stoutly built Dominican is batting .319 with five home runs and 18 RBIs. Obviously, he's made the transition from Low-A Visalia rather nicely, something he attributes to staying the course despite the heightened competition of High-A.
"I want to make it to the big leagues, and I wouldn't have been promoted here if I hadn't been doing well, so I'm not going to change anything," De Los Santos said. "I'm going to be focused and keep improving."
The second-year pro impressed over 62 games last season, but this year has been equally impressive statistically and more consistent with his approach — something he said he's been working on.
"I'm trying to be more consistent this year," he said. "Last year wasn't a bad year, but I'm trying to fix the little details this year to find that consistency."
Ultimately, it's the power that makes De Los Santos stand out.
Mark Reed, hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks' Triple-A team, the Reno Aces, said last August that the then-18-year-old had the most power at that age that he'd ever seen.
"I'm telling you, the guy will mishit some stuff and they'll be homers to right-center field," Reed told Baseball America last year. "That's how strong he is."
De Los Santos may have a special gift, but he simply enjoys hitting homers.
"Most of the time when I make great contact, I know the ball is gone," he said. "It's very emotional. In that moment, I feel like I'm the man."
That emotion isn't just reserved for home runs either. De Los Santos said that for the bulk of his life, he's been singularly focused on becoming a major leaguer, so when asked whether or not an eventual promotion to baseball's biggest stage might summon a tear or two, even he couldn't deny the possibility.
"It will be a very emotional thing, because since I was 4 year sold, I told my mom and dad I was going to make it to the big leagues," De Los Santos said. "There will definitely be some tears shed if that were to happen."
News and notes
Former Hop Pavin Smith, who's spent the bulk of his 2022 season with the Diamondbacks, was transferred to the 60-day injured list due to a wrist injury originally suffered in early July. Smith has batted .207 with nine home runs over 65 games with Arizona this season.
Former Hops outfielder Jake McCarthy is batting .297 over his last 30 games with the Diamondbacks, raising his major league average this season to .261. McCarthy has played 57 games with the big club this season and 36 games at Reno where he batted .369 with five home runs.
West Linn native Tim Tawa continues to struggle at Double-A Amarillo, batting just .169 over 37 games.
Last week's results
Spokane 10, Hillsboro 4
Spokane 5, Hillsboro 4
Spokane 5, Hillsboro 4
Hillsboro 8, Spokane 1
Spokane 9, Hillsboro 4
Hillsboro 5, Spokane 1
Infielder Gary Mattis was 6-for-17 with three doubles, two RBI and two stolen bases in six games this past week, and is batting .409 in seven games as a Hop.
Shortstop Jordan Lawlar continues his hot stretch in Hillsboro, going 7-for-14 in five games against Spokane. The 2021 first round pick is batting .400 with two home runs and 11 RBI in his last 10 games.
Starting pitcher Chad Patrick was impressive in his Hops debut Aug. 14, allowing just one hit while striking out seven in four scoreless innings against Spokane.
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