Hillsboro wins four in a row and moves within one game of South Division lead

The Hops’ recent run of solid play continued over the past week, as Hillsboro went 5-2 in games from Aug. 14 through Tuesday.

That stretch upped the Hops’ overall record to 26-38 and their second-half mark to 15-11. Heading into Wednesday’s matchup at Eugene, Hillsboro sat just a game back of Salem-Keizer (16-10) for the South Division lead.

That makes the Volcanoes the team to catch, as the likely way the Hops would advance to the postseason would be by finishing atop the second-half standings.

Last week, Hillsboro started its run with a 2-0 victory against Salem-Keizer at Hillsboro Ballpark, followed by a 6-5 heartbreaker the following night.

The Hops found solace on the road in Spokane. After opening a five-game stint against the Indians last Friday with a 5-1 loss, the Hops took four in a row — good for their longest winning streak of the season — from the Indians.

In two of the wins, the Hops got what they needed in extra innings. Saturday’s winning sequence came in the 10th when John Leonard laid down a sacrifice bunt and Jordan Parr scored on a throwing error by Indians catcher Joe Jackson. Ryan Gebhart, who had four hits that night, added an insurance tally with an RBI single that gave the Hops a 7-5 victory.

Hillsboro got some late-game mojo Sunday night as well, scoring the go-ahead run in the eighth and three more in the ninth for a 5-1 victory.

In Monday’s contest, Ben Eckels pitched 8 1/3 innings and Jose Jose picked up the final two outs with runners on first and second to earn the save in a 2-1 triumph.

On Tuesday, Brian Billigen played the hero’s role, going yard — his second home run in three games — with a three-run shot in the top of the 11th to lead Hillsboro to a 4-1 victory.

The Hops return to Hillsboro this weekend for their final homestand of the year. They host Boise in games from Saturday through Monday, followed by three games against Eugene from Wednesday through next Friday.

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