EVERETT, WASH. (Sept. 6, 2022) --- The Hillsboro Hops led the Everett Aquasox 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night at Funko Field, with two out and no one on base. Hops reliever Dillon Larsen walked the next two batters, and Everett’s Robert Perez then clouted
EVERETT, WASH. (Sept. 6, 2022) --- The Hillsboro Hops led the Everett Aquasox 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday night at Funko Field, with two out and no one on base. Hops reliever Dillon Larsen walked the next two batters, and Everett’s Robert Perez then clouted a three-run game-ending home run for a 5-4 Sox win.
It marked just the second time in the Hops’ nine-year history that they have lost on a walkoff home run (the first was June 21st, 2015 at Spokane, when Tyler Sanchez ended a game with a dinger). And it was the first time in Hops history that they lost a game on a walkoff play at the time the opposing team was trailing and down to their last out.
The loss spoiled the heroics of Hillsboro shortstop S.P. Chen. The game was tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth, when Channy Ortiz dropped a leadoff single into center. Jarrod Watkins hit a shot to the right side, but it was snared on a lunge by Everett second baseman Mike Salvatore, who flipped to second for a force-out; it should have been a double play, but James Parker’s relay to first was wild. Watkins stole second and went to third on a passed ball, and Jacen Roberson was hit by a pitch and stole second. After the next batter struck out, Chen came up. He smoked a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to right to put Hillsboro up 4-2.
Everett scored twice in the first inning when Hops starter Chad Patrick came out of the gate uncharacteristically wild. Patrick --- who had walked just four batters in 19.2 innings with the Hops entering the game --- walked three in the first inning as the Aquasox scored twice. (It could have been worse; Everett had the bases loaded and none out and a run already home, and scored just once more.)
The first-inning walks set a tone for the night, as Hillsboro pitchers issued nine bases on balls, and Everett pitchers walked six and hit a batter. Until the Perez home run, the free passes didn’t lead to much damage, as the two teams were each just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position before the final play.
Everett led 2-0 entering the third inning, when Hillsboro scored a run on two walks and an error. Then, in the seventh, Hops right fielder Fox Semones belted his second home run of the year just inside the left-field foul pole to tie the game.
Patrick worked four innings, allowing two hits, two runs (both earned), with four walks and five strikeouts. Junior Mieses worked two scoreless innings, pitching around a pair of walks. Hugh Fisher pitched around a leadoff walk and an infield single to post a scoreless seventh, and Gerald Ogando worked a perfect eighth to set the table for each team’s heroics in the ninth.
The season-ending series continues on Wednesday at 7:05. The radio pregame show begins at 6:50 on Rip City Radio 620AM and at www.RipCityRadio.com.
More walkoff facts: The loss marked the 23rd time in Hillsboro’s history that they have lost on a walkoff; by contrast, Hillsboro has won at Ron Tonkin Field via walkoff 48 times in their nine-year history, the most in the league in that span (Eugene is second with 42). … While this was the second time the Hops have lost via a walkoff home run, Hillsboro has hit six walkoff homers: Pedro Ruiz (7/27/14), Fernery Ozuna (7/20/15), Jason Morozowski (8/16/16), Drew Ellis (8/25/17), Will Gorman (8/1/18) and Andy Yerzy (9/7/19 in Game One of the Northwest League Championship Series). … Of the Hops’ walkoff homers, only Ruiz’s and Yerzy’s came with Hillsboro trailing, and only Yerzy’s came with the Hops behind and down to their last out. … Of the Hops’ 48 walkoff wins, only two have come when Hillsboro was trailing and down to their last out when the walkoff play (homer or otherwise) occurred --- Yerzy’s homer on 9/7/19 and a two-run single by L.T. Tolbert on 8/27/18. … While Tuesday night was the third time Hillsboro has lost via walkoff at Everett, the Aquasox have been victims of Hillsboro walkoffs seven times, including twice this year (April 12th & 16th). … It was the third time the Hops had lost at Everett on a walkoff, and the first two times came in the second week of the Hops’ existence, June 21st & 23rd, 2013. … Finally, there’s this: the last time the the Hops lost at Everett via walkoff, 6/23/13, the game-winning single came from the third Seager brother, Justin Seager. While Kyle and Corey have had long major-league careers, Justin topped out at Double-A when his career ended in 2017.