It was back-to-business week for the Hops.
After a successful all-star break in which the Hillsboro Hops organization hosted a three-day party for kids, adults, and a gaggle of Northwest and Pioneer League all-stars, the Hops opened the second-half with a five game home stand versus the Vancouver Canadians.
The two teams split the first four of the five-game set, with the Hops taking the first and third games, while losing the second and fourth before dropping the series finale Monday night, 10-6.
Rookie Camden Duzenack had the hot hand, hitting .474 for the series with Vancouver and .324 over his last 10 games.
In a good news-bad news situation, the Hops lost some high-quality personnel when third-baseman Eudy Ramos and pitchers Riley Smith and Connor Grey were assigned to the Kane County Cougars, Arizona's Full Season A-squad. Congratulations and good luck to all three on their journey up the ladder!
Hillsboro hits the road tonight for five games at Tri-City before returning for a three-game set with Eugene starting Wednesday, Aug. 16.
Aug. 3 – Hillsboro 9, Vancouver 8
In spite of allowing an eight-run second inning and trailing by a run heading into the eighth, the Hops clawed their way to extra innings before first-year shortstop Camden Duzenack ended the game with an 11th-inning single to right field, scoring Ryan Dobson and sending the sweat-soaked Hops faithful home with a smile.
On a day in which the temperature soared well above 100 degrees, the Hops completed an unlikely comeback thanks to Duzenack, who finished 3-for-6 with three RBI's, and a Hillsboro bullpen that allowed just two runs over the final nine-and-a-third innings — and nothing from the third inning on. The combination of Jose Martinez, Kevin Ginkel, Breckin Williams and Erbert Gonzalez threw six shutout innings, totaling seven strikeouts and three walks.
Offensively, besides Duzenack, the Hops were led by Dobson, Bryan Araiza, Pavin Smith and left-fielder Jorge Perez, combining for eight hits and four RBI's.
Aug. 4 – Vancouver 4, Hillsboro 2
For the second consecutive night, Vancouver jumped on Hillsboro early, scoring two in the first and a third run in the third inning en route to a 4-2 win at Ron Tonkin Field.
With the win, the Canadians ended a six-game losing streak to the Hops, including five straight in Vancouver prior to last week's all-star break.
The visitors from north of the border used four pitchers in the game, allowing eight hits while striking out eight and walking just two. Hillsboro struggled when it mattered most, going just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Tyler Vail made his Hops debut after being called up from Missoula, pitching six strong innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits while striking out 10 and walking two.
Offensively, Hillsboro was led by Camden Duzenack and catcher Tim Susnara who combined for four hits in defeat.
Aug. 5 – Hillsboro 6, Vancouver 0
Hillsboro pitchers combined for a one-hit shutout and shortstop Camden Duzenack continued his hot stretch at the plate, leading the Hops to an easy 6-0 win in the third of a five-game set with the visiting Vancouver Canadians.
University of Maryland product Brian Shaffer pitched two shutout innings to start the game, before Kevin McCanna made his Hops debut in relief of the sixth-round pick, who's on a pitch count due to his workload for the Terrapins last spring. McCanna was marvelous over five-and-a-third innings, striking out nine and walking two.
Duzenack and Pavin Smith got the scoring started for Hillsboro in the fourth, leading off the inning with back-to-back doubles, giving the Hops a 1-0 lead. Hillsboro would get two more in the fourth and three in the seventh before snuffing-out a bases loaded rally in the ninth, when all-star closer Erbert Gonzalez slammed the door shut, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Duzenack finished the night 2-for-2 with two doubles, raising his season average to .316. Pavin Smith also tallied two hits, raising his average to .338.
Aug. 6 – Vancouver 5, Hillsboro 3
Hillsboro missed a golden opportunity to clinch the five-game series when they blew a two-run lead, allowing four runs over the last two innings en route to a 5-3 come-from-ahead defeat.
The Hops scratched and clawed their way to a 3-1 lead before the top half of the eighth, when things changed. Hillsboro reliever Matt Peacock entered the game with two runners aboard when Vancouver shortstop Logan Warmoth doubled down the right field line to tie the game 3-3. Cullen Large would follow that with a single, scoring Warmoth and giving the Canadians their first lead.
Reggie Pruitt would then triple to start the ninth and later score on a fielder's choice before Vancouver closer William Ouelette put the Hops down in the ninth, and in the process tie Hillsboro closer Erbert Gonzalez for the league lead in saves.
The Hops had only five hits in the game, while the Canadians finished with 13 hits, including five starters with two hits apiece.
Aug. 7 – Vancouver 10, Hillsboro 6
The Hops played a losing game of catch-up for much of the night at Ron Tonkin Field, and the result was a 10-6 defeat and a 3-2 series loss at the hands of the visiting Canadians.
Vancouver scored seven runs in the first five innings and tacked on three more in the eighth to thwart a Hillsboro squad that had pulled within two.
The Canadians got the scoring started in the third, using a series of hits and timely at-bats — including a Kacy Clemens fielder's choice — to grab a 2-0 lead. Hillsboro tied it in the bottom of the same inning when a Ryan Dobson double scored Camden Duzenack, and Dobson later scored on a Pavin Smith groundball to second. But Vancouver responded with four runs in the following inning sparked by a Matt Morgan lead-off triple.
Hillsboro got back within two when a pair of doubles by Smith and catcher Daulton Varsho led to a three-run fifth, but the Canadians put three more on the board in the eighth to ice the game and ultimately the series.
Newcomer Luis Lara led the Hops with three hits, while Smith tallied two RBI's.
Diamondback prospect Jhoan Duran struggled and got the loss in the start, allowing six runs on seven hits in just four innings of work on the mound.