It was a week of both wins and losses for the Hops, as the team won all seven of their games while losing six players to minor league promotions.
Hillsboro managed sweeps of both Everett and Salem-Keizer, improved to a league best 10-3 record and took a two-game lead into this week's all-star break, highlighted by the NWL-PBL All-Star Game played Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Memorial Stadium in Boise (after this paper's print deadline).
The Hops tied with Spokane for the most all-star selections, including right-handed pitcher Luis Frias, outfielder Kristian Robinson, infielder Steven Leyton, outfielder Jesus Marriaga and right-handed pitcher Marcos Tineo.
Leyton, Frias and Robinson won't be participating in the game. They are three of six Hops who were promoted to Kane County (Arizona's Full Season-A affiliate) this past week. In addition, catcher Nick Dalesandro, along with pitchers Michel Gelabert and Yaramil Hiraldo, were also assigned to the Illinois club.
Robinson, who is considered to be one of the Arizona Diamondbacks' fastest-rising stars, ended his time in Hillsboro batting .319 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs. The 18-year-old was fifth in the Northwest League in batting and second in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.
Frias was second only to teammate Deyni Olivero in the NWL in ERA (1.99) and led the league in strikeouts with 72.
In other transaction news, Ryan January returned to Hillsboro after a short stint at Kane County. The catcher was 3-for-11 with three strikeouts in three games since being called up July 20 and before going on the seven-day injured list. He was batting .325 in Hillsboro before being called up.
Left-handed pitcher Trevor McKenna was released by the Hops Aug. 2. McKenna had a 1-2 record with an ERA of 3.86, while striking out 10 and walking 12 with Hillsboro this season.
The Hops return to action at 6:35 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, for the first of three games at Salem-Keizer, then travel to Everett for three games with the AquaSox before returning home for six straight, beginning with a three-game series with Boise.
Here's your weekly recap:
July 30 — Hillsboro 4, Everett 3
The Hops started the week right, getting a narrow one-run win over the visiting Everett AquaSox.
Hillsboro built a 4-1 lead, then hung on as the Sox made a late push, putting the tying run on second base in the bottom of the ninth inning before a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play ended things in dramatic fashion.
Luis Frias continued his season-long dominance, allowing just one earned run while striking out six and walking one in six innings of work. It was the 10th consecutive game in which Frias had allowed two runs or less, and the 21-year-old improved his season ERA to 1.99.
The Hops scored two runs in the third inning, the first on a Steven Leyton sacrifice fly and the second on a one-out Tristin English single to left that scored Ricky Martinez. Everett answered in the fifth with their lone run off of Frias when DeAires Moses singled-in Luis Joseph, but Hillsboro responded with a two-run Joe Gillette homer in the sixth to give the Hops a 4-1 lead.
Everett scratched two across in the seventh off of Hops reliever Conor Grammes before Eduardo Herrera and Bryan Menendez got the last eight outs.
Martinez led Hillsboro at the plate, finishing 2-for-4.
Gillette's home run was his first of the season after being assigned to Hillsboro from Advanced-A Visalia July 28.
July 31 — Hillsboro 5, Everett 1
Hillsboro won their third straight over the AquaSox, scoring two runs in the second inning, two more in the third and a fifth run in the seventh after falling behind 1-0 in the first.
Six Hops pitchers combined to hold Everett to just four hits on the night, while striking out three and walking three.
Tristin English led Hillsboro offensively, picking up his third hit in two days, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the third inning, his second round-tripper of the season.
First round 2019 draft pick Drey Jameson got his third start of the season, but struggled early before being replaced with just a single out in the first. The hard throwing right-hander from Ball State walked on and hit one batter before being replaced by Erin Baldwin with but one out in the first. Jameson has pitched just 2 2/3 innings thus far for the Hops, allowing two runs on a single hit while striking out one and walking three.
Everett starter Jorge Benitez got the loss, allowing four runs on three hits.
Aug. 1 — Hillsboro 5, Everett 3
The Hops completed their four-game sweep of the AquaSox, coming from behind to record their 11th win in their last 14 games.
Hillsboro took an early 2-0 lead, relinquished that lead in the fifth inning, then grabbed the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to three straight singles by David Garza, Jesus Marriaga and Kristian Robinson.
Garza finished with three hits, an RBI and two runs scored. In all, four Hops hitters tallied two hits or more, including Garza, Nick Grande, Joe Gillette and catcher Lyle Lin.
Hops pitcher Andrew Saalfrank got the start for Hillsboro and was nearly flawless, throwing two scoreless and hitless innings while striking out three.
Marcos Tineo got the win in relief of Saalfrank, despite allowing all three of Everett's runs over five innings of work.
AquaSox reliver Brayan Perez got both the loss and a blown save, allowing three runs on seven hits in just two innings of work.
Aug. 2 — Hillsboro 7, Salem-Keizer 2
This one was over early.
The Hops got five first inning runs off of Volcanoes starter Jesus Ozoria, tallying five hits and six total runs before forcing him from the game with two outs in the second inning.
After Ricky Martinez and David Garza doubled to start the bottom half of the first, Kristian Robinson walked before Andy Yerzy plated two on a fielder's choice. Then, a batter later, Tristin English doubled to left to score both Yerzy and Robinson, setting up Daniel Wasinger's RBI single to center that gave Hillsboro a 5-0 lead.
Both teams scored runs in the second, Hillsboro added another in the fifth on an English RBI triple and Salem-Keizer closed the scoring in the sixth for a final of 7-2.
Garza, English and Wasinger all had two hits for the Hops, while English tallied three RBIs and a run scored.
Wilfry Cruz got the win for the Hops, allowing one earned run on a single hit over four innings of work. In all, Hillsboro used five pitchers that allowed four hits while striking out seven and walking eight batters.
The win was the fifth in a row and put the Hops (8-3) two games ahead in the second half standings over Salem-Keizer, Eugene and Boise.
Aug. 3 — Hillsboro 7, Salem-Keizer 6
It's not "how," it's "how many?"
Somehow the Hillsboro Hops managed seven runs on just four hits en route to a sixth straight win and second consecutive victory over the first-half champion Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Saturday night at Ron Tonkin Field.
After Hops starter Tyler Holton allowed four runs to the Volcanoes in the first inning, Hillsboro answered with four of their own in the bottom half of the first, thanks in large part to a walk, an error, a Jesus Marriaga triple and an Andy Yerzy two-run bomb that tied the game 4-4.
The visiting Volcanoes took back the lead an inning later on an Alexander Canario RBI double, but the Hops again responded, getting three runs in the bottom of the second thanks to a series of errors and walks before David Garza blasted a three-run homer to left field to put Hillsboro ahead for good, 7-4.
Salem-Keizer's Harrison Freed homered for the game's final run in the sixth, but from there Hops relievers Bryan Menendez and Eduardo Herrera shut the Volcanoes down, preserving the win and setting up Sunday's attempt for a three-game home sweep.
Hillsboro's Jacob Stevens got the win, throwing two shutout innings while striking out three. Salem-Keizer's Conner Nurse took the loss, allowing six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Aug. 4 — Hillsboro 7, Salem-Keizer 2
In the wake of a nail-biter a night earlier, the Hops garnered a relatively easy win over the Volcanoes to finish a three-game sweep of the NWL South Division first half winners.
Hillsboro scored five runs over the first two innings, then watched as a combination of seven Hops pitchers allowed just one earned run on seven hits, while striking out nine and walking three.
Designated hitter Andy Yerzy, who's struggled to find his groove for much of the year, led Hillsboro at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a first inning, two-RBI double that put the Hops ahead 3-0.
The home Hops plated two more in the second inning, the first when Kevin Lachance was hit by a pitch and later scored on a wild pitch by the Volcanoes' Travis Perry, the second on a David Garza ground out to short, scoring Nick Grande.
Salem-Keizer got runs in both the sixth and eighth innings, while the Hops tacked on two more in the bottom of the sixth.
Hillsboro's Deyni Olivero got the win, his seventh of the season, throwing one hitless inning. Olivero enters the all-star break with a 1.76 ERA.
With the win, the Hops take a seven-game win streak into the all-star break and have a two-game lead over second place Eugene.
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