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COVID wreaks havoc with Hillsboro leading to five straight defeats to the AquaSox.

PMG FILE PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Hillsboro's Tim Tawa during a game earlier this season. Tawa remains hot, hitting near .300 over his last two weeks. The Hops dropped five straight to Everett this past week.There are bad weeks, and there's what the Hops experienced in Everett over the past six days.

After taking five-of-six from Spokane a week prior, Hillsboro dropped all five games to the AquaSox and in the process were faced with everyone's not-so-great friend COVID.

The team was forced to cancel their game May 17 and were left with a bit of a skeleton crew to finish out the week when four players and three members of the coaching staff—including manager Vince Harrison—tested positive for the virus early in the week.

Harrison—who said he was feeling fine in a phone interview May 23—said it certainly complicated things for the team in their series with Everett.

"We had one of our better hitters out and a couple of our potential starters," Harrison said. "So, we ended up having a couple bullpen days and the organization ended up having to fly-in a couple players and coaches. So, it definitely affected things."

Bench coach Ronald Ramirez managed the team in Harrison's absence and the manager said he and pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru provided Ramirez with all the help they could, but the situation was made more complicated by Harrison's inability to watch or in anyway view the game while he sat in his hotel room.

"They didn't have an MiLB feed so I was trying to listen to the game on the radio," the manager said. "You're trying to paint a picture while you're listening, but it's not the same as watching on TV or in person."

To make things worse, the team's struggles off the field were reflected on it as they continued to struggle at the plate, batting just .185 during the series, further diminishing their already dismal season batting average of .209.

Unfortunately, however their pitching—which has been phenomenal for most of the season—struggled as well, allowing 26 earned runs en route to a 5-game ERA of 5.85.

A couple bright spots from the week were the continued consistent play of Tim Tawa and relief pitcher Hugh Fisher.

Fisher appeared in two games against Everett and allowed just a single hit while striking out five in two innings of work, and over the last two weeks has an ERA of 0.00 and has allowed only three hits in five innings.

Meanwhile, Tawa just continues to impress with his dependability, hitting safely in 11 of the team's 17 games this month and raising his batting average to .280. Second on the team amongst players who've played more than 10 games.

"You kind of know what you're going to get from Tim every day," Harrison said. "He's also got some versatility. We're starting to get him back to second base more because I think he's a sold second baseman, but we had him in center for awhile and he's done a nice job wherever we've put him."

The Hops will host Vancouver for six games starting May 24 and Harrison said he'll be happy to move beyond this past week and focus on getting back what they lost in Everett—which he's confident they can do.

"We're about a third of the way through the season and there's still plenty of time," Harrison said. "We've got a fresh start this week, so hopefully we can get back on the winning side of things."

Last week's results:

Everett 3, Hillsboro 2

Everett 6, Hillsboro 1

Everett 7, Hillsboro 5

Everett 9, Hillsboro 4

Everett 8, Hillsboro 3

NWL Standings

Spokane 21-16

Vancouver 18-17

Tri-City 18-18

Eugene 17-17

Hillsboro 18-19

Everett 16-21

Who's hot...

Relief pitcher Hugh Fisher has appeared in four games in the last two weeks, allowing no earned runs on just three hits, while striking out eight and walking two.

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