It's official; the Hillsboro Hops are going to the 2019 Northwest League playoffs.
Despite dropping their series-opener to Boise Wednesday night, Aug. 28, the Hops qualified for the playoffs as a result of the Eugene Emeralds 6-5 loss to Salem-Keizer.
With their postseason spot secure, Hillsboro broke the NWL record — held by both the Hops and Vancouver Canadians — of five straight postseason appearances.
"This has been a really fun team to be around this year because of so much talent," Hops President and General Manager K.L. Wombacher said. "We have a great partnership with the Dbacks dating back to 2001 and they have been very committed to the success of our franchise along with developing their players in a great environment thanks to our passionate fans here. Consistent success is something we can all be very proud of."
The game with Boise marked the Hops debut of left-handed pitcher Blake Walston, Arizona's 26th overall pick in last spring's Major League Baseball draft. Walston — after appearing in three games for the AZL D-backs at the Rookie level — threw two innings against the Hawks, allowing one earned run on two hits, while striking out one and walking one. Deyni Olivero took over for Walston in the fifth, but the normally dependable right-hander struggled, allowing three earned runs over his four innings, taking the loss.
The Hops — who tallied just four hits against five Boise hurlers — managed to tie the game in the fourth when Tristan English doubled to right field, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a fielder's choice off of the bat of Liover Peguero. Sadly however, the Hawks broke that tie with three runs in the sixth, two on a bases-loaded single by Yorvis Torrealba, and a third a batter later on a ground out to short. Hillsboro never threatened over the final three innings.
In all, seven Boise players notched hits in the game, led by Trey Jacobs who went 2-for-4 with a double.
Hillsboro's Tristan English was one of the Hops' few offensive bright spots, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored. English has 10 hits in his last seven games, raising his season average to .276.
With the loss and Salem-Keizer's win, the Hops' lead in the NWL South Division was cut to three with five games remaining in the regular season.
Hillsboro will face Boise at 7:05 p.m. this evening, and again at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow in their regular season home finale at Ron Tonkin Field.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.