Hops recap: A week of ups and downs
"Love Rollercoaster" is a song by the Ohio Players, and was later remade by the Red Hot Chili Peppers as part of the animated movie, "Beavis and Butthead Do America." But while the past week was a roller coaster for the Hillsboro Hops, "love" may not have been how players and coaches would've described it.
After beginning the week on the tail end of a six-game winning streak, the Hops went on to lose four of their last five, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Spokane Indians July 4-6 at Ron Tonkin Field, and the second of three games against Boise, 3-0, Monday, July 8, thanks to a dominating Hawks pitching performance that allowed the Hops just four hits.
With the string of defeats, Hillsboro fell out of first place in the Northwest League's Southern Division standings, a game-and-a-half behind the first place Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
Pitcher Deyni Olivero threw a gem to start the week versus Vancouver, then followed that up with another strong performance in a loss to Boise to end it. In his last two starts, the right-hander has allowed just six hits and one earned run in 12 1/3 innings of work, and in five starts this season has an ERA of just 1.01.
At the plate, the Hops were led by Tristan English, who has hit safely in his last three games, going 5-for-11 with three RBIs, along with hitting his first home run of the season; Kristian Robinson, who hit safely in five of his last six games and went 7-for-22 with five RBIs and five runs scored; and Steven Leyton, who went 7-for-16 over a four-game stretch. On the other end of the spectrum, first baseman Andy Yerzy's struggles continue, as the third-year pro has hit just .156 over his last 10 games, including a 1-for-17 stretch over his last five.
Hillsboro finished the series with Boise Tuesday, July 9 (after this paper's print deadline), and will have Wednesday off before traveling to Boise for three games, then returning home for a three-game set with league-leading Salem-Keizer July 14-16.
July 3 — Hillsboro 6, Vancouver 0
The Hops won their sixth game in a row thanks in large part to the bat of Kristian Robinson, and an even larger part to the right arm of pitcher Deyni Olivero.
The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic threw six shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out three and walking none. It was the third win in four starts for the fourth-year pro and the third start without relinquishing a run. Robinson went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, highlighted by a two-run first inning home run, the second of the season for the 18-year-old Bahamian.
Hillsboro scored two runs in the first, two more in the fourth and a single run in both the eighth and ninth innings, the last on a Robinson double that plated Steven Leyton.
Vancouver was led by Davis Schneider, who went 2-for-3.
In addition to Robinson, Leyton, David Garza, Jorge Barrosa and Nick Dalesandro added hits for the Hops.
July 4 — Spokane 3, Hillsboro 2
Hillsboro's six-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Spokane Indians on what was an otherwise festive Fourth of July at Ron Tonkin Field.
The Indians scored a run in the first inning, another in the third and a final run in the fourth, then hung on as the Hops pulled within a run after six innings before bogging down over the final three.
Luis Frias, despite the loss, dazzled at times, throwing five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out eight. Meanwhile, Spokane's Theo McDowell got the win in relief of Ben Anderson, who left after just an out in the first inning. McDowell pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing an earned run on two hits while striking out four.
Kristian Robinson continued to swing the bat well, going 1-for-2 with an RBI, run scored and two base-on-balls.
Spokane's Kenen Irizarry led the Indians with two hits, an RBI and two walks.
July 5 — Spokane 9, Hillsboro 0
Everyone has a clunker from time to time.
Spokane's Ricky Vanasco tied the Hops in knots, then watched as his bullpen finished what he started en route to a combined two-hit shutout.
The Indians' 20-year-old righthander threw six innings, allowing just a single hit while striking out 10 and walking two. Billy Lane Jr. and Triston Polley did the rest from there, allowing one hit while striking out three over the final two innings.
Hops starter Michel Gelabert struggled mightily on the mound, allowing seven hits and seven earned runs over his four innings of work. Gelabert has now allowed 14 earned runs over his last four starts, watching his ERA rise to 7.13 during his four-game stint in Hillsboro.
Spokane scored one in the third and two in the fourth, then blew the game open with five runs in the fifth. They were led by Blaine Crim and Jake Hoover with two hits apiece, while designated hitter Luis Asuncion drove in three runs with a single and sacrifice fly.
Steven Leyton and Jorge Barrosa had hits for the Hops.
July 6 — Spokane 7, Hillsboro 3
A close game ended early when the Spokane Indians blew things open with two seventh-inning home runs en route to a 7-3 win and a third consecutive defeat for the Hillsboro Hops.
Spokane's Blaine Crim hit a two-run homer and Jonah McReynolds followed that with a solo shot to cap a four-run seventh, and the Indians' combination of pitchers Ryan Garcia, Teodoro Ortega and Nic Laio held the Hops to just six hits.
Hillsboro pitchers Marcos Tineo, Erin Baldwin and Justin Garcia surrendered all seven of the Indians' runs, with Baldwin and Garcia allowing five over a three-run stretch in the middle innings.
Outfielder Tristin English led the Hops with two hits and an RBI.
Indians shortstop Cristian Inoa went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored.
The Hops happily watched Spokane leave town while ushering in the Boise Hawks, who helped end Hillsboro's three-game losing streak.
Home Hillsboro woke up the bats to the tune of 11 runs on 14 hits, while getting another standout performance from a pitching staff that allowed just four hits while striking out seven.
Led by shortstop Ricky Martinez' 3-for-5 performance, the Hops had six players with at least two hits in the game, and four more with at least two RBIs. In addition, pitchers Wilfry Cruz and Franklyn Soriano combined to throw eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven and walking two.
The Hops got one run in the first and another in the fourth before exploding for four runs in the fifth, thanks to four hits, including a Tristin English home run, along with a Kristian Robinson triple to open the inning.
Cruz got the win for Hillsboro, starting and throwing five scoreless innings on three hits with three strikeouts, while Soriano picked up his third hold of the season, throwing three innings of one-hit baseball, striking out four.
Boise's Trevor Boone led the Hawks with two hits while starting pitcher Zak Baayoun took the loss, allowing two earned runs on five hits through 3 2/3 innings of work.