This was the first ever game for the Hillsboro Hops in the post-season, and it proved a successful debut, as they pulled out a comeback victory over the Boise Emeralds in the first game of the Northwest League divisional series. They got on the board in the first when, with runners on the corners, an errant pickoff throw from the Emeralds pitcher allowed CF Taylor Ratliff to come home from third. However, Boise scored single runs in the third and the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. The first came on a solo homer off Hops starter Felipe Perez, and the second on a combined wild pitch by Perez and throwing error by C Stryker Trahan.
After five, it was still 2-1 Boise, but the Hops proved more effective against the Emeralds' bullpen, taking advantage of some sloppy play. 2B Steve Nyisztor tied things up with an RBI single in the sixth, and took the lead on a double steal, aided by another catcher error, this time on the Emeralds' side. Ratliff drove in another run with a single in the seventh, and RF Stewart Ijames completed the scoring for Hillsboro with a ninth-inning homer, a solo shot.Ratliff ended the night with three hits and two runs scored, plus an RBI and a stolen base, with Nyisztor and Ijames each had two hits.
Perez went four innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. After him, the Hops' bullpen performed an excellent job,. throwing five shutout innings, and the last 12 Boise hitters were retired in order. There were two frames apiece for Nick Baker (who got the decision) and Rob West, before Zac Curtis put an emphatic exclamation point on proceedings, striking out the side in the ninth for the save. Game two in the best of three series is Wednesday night in Hillsboro.
Rookie Missoula 3 @ Helena 1. The Osprey are still in regular season action, with two more games left, but don't have playoff hopes. However, Cody Reed did deliver three shutout innings to get this game started, striking out two and walking three. Since his promotion from the AZL, he has allowed three hits over 12 innings, with 14 K's. Gabriel Moya allowed a run in 2.2 innings of relief, but that was it, with Anthony Bazzani picking up his fourth save. LF Gerard Hernandez and DH Henry Castillo each had two hits, while RF Damion Smith drove in a pair of runs with his second inning double.
The pace picks up considerably tomorrow, with Reno (@ Las Vegas), Visalia (vs. Stockton) and South Bend (@ Lake County) all joining Hillsboro in post-season action, as their playoffs get under way.