Vancouver Canadians win last game of long homestand
The Vancouver Canadians closed out a tough series at home versus the league-leading Eugene Emeralds with a win Sunday afternoon, June 6.
After dropping four of the first five games in the series, the Canadians struck back with a 7-3 victory behind the solid right arm of starter Paxton Schultz, taking advantage of a rash of Emeralds errors in the third inning.
Right fielder Tanner Kirwer scored the first run of the ballgame in the bottom of the third inning, as he singled, took second base on a throwing error by Eugene third baseman Jacob Gonzalez, advanced to third on a pickoff throw by pitcher Aaron Phillips that trickled into the outfield, and then scored on a single by Vancouver first baseman Philip Clarke.
Those were just the first miscues of a messy half-inning.
Center fielder Cameron Eden dropped a bunt up the third base line that stopped just before rolling foul, leaving Phillips perplexed, and then Gonzalez couldn't handle a grounder by Canadians second baseman Tanner Morris for his second error of the inning, although the Emeralds caught a break as Eden came too far around second and was tagged out.
Designated hitter Sebastian Espino singled to drive in Clarke, then Emeralds first baseman Logan Wyatt missed a pickoff throw to try to nab him before Phillips finally got shortstop Luis De Los Santos to fly out, bringing an end to the four-error frame.
While the Emeralds struck back to halve the Canadians' lead, as Wyatt singled home Patrick Bailey in the top of the fourth inning, that's all they got off Schultz, who went six strong innings while striking out nine.
The Canadians answered back, building their lead in the bottom of the fourth on a wild pitch, an RBI double by Clarke, and another infield single by Eden that saw Clarke score from second thanks to some aggressive baserunning. They tacked on their sixth run in the fifth inning on an RBI groundout by De Los Santos.
Doubtless glad to see the back of Schultz, the Emeralds mounted a two-run rally against reliever Cobi Johnson in the seventh inning, scoring one on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly and another on a popup by center fielder Javeyan Williams that Eden couldn't handle cleanly.
Eugene came no closer than that. Vancouver reliever Justin Maese walked the bases loaded in the eighth inning but worked out of the jam by striking out Gonzalez and inducing a groundout from Eugene left fielder Tyler Flores, then Eden tacked on one more insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth before Maese closed out the game in the top of the ninth inning.
With the win, the Canadians improve to 17-13, good for third in the league standings. The Emeralds maintain their lead in the standings at 19-11.
It's been nearly one month since the Canadians played a game outside of their temporary home of Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro. They will finally depart Hillsboro to open a series Tuesday, June 8, at Spokane.
After finishing up a six-game set at Everett, the Hillsboro Hops will come home to host the Tri-City Dust Devils. That series begins at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, May 8. It will be the first in 2021 in which up to 50% capacity is allowed at Ron Tonkin Field, as COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed in Washington County due to its high vaccination rate.
By Mark Miller
Editor-in-Chief, Washington and Columbia counties
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