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Diamondbacks Minor-League Report, 9/9: The Hillsboro Heartstopper

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We were within three outs of losing all the playoff games tonight, but the Hops came back twice, and won their decisive playoff game in 13 innings.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

3 stars: Dansby Swaons, Hillsboro - 2-for-5, R, two RBI, two BB, walk-off single
2 stars: Luke Lowery, Missoula - 2-for-4, R, HR (1), RBI
1 star: Brody Greer, Hillsboro - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
0 stars: Ryan Burr, Kane County - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO, L (0-1)

Class A Kane County 1 @ Peoria 2. The Cougars dropped game one of the series in hellish fashion, Ryan Burr having a meltdown in the ninth. After coming in to a tied game and giving up a lead-off double, he got a douibled, but then balked the go-ahead run to third. Two intentional walks loaded the bases, but he couldn't find the strikezone again, and on a full count saw a pitch low and inside, which allowed the Chiefs to win on a walk-off walk. This undid a good outing from the rest of the Cougars' pitching staff. Starter Ethan Elias struck out seven over four innings of one-run ball, and a trio of relievers worked four hitless innings, led by Nick Baker's two frames with four K's.

The Kane County offense, however, was doing very little either. being held to five hits. LF Victor Reyes had two of those, including the Cougars' only extra-base knock, a double with two outs in the third. However, they had only one at-bat with a runner in scoring position after that point, Reyes's single in the fifth driving in the only score of the game for Kane County. 3B Cody Regis, 2B Henry Castillo and SS Dawel Lugo had the other hits, though Castillo was caught stealing and Regis committed an error. The series moves back to Kane County for Game 2 tomorrow night, with Brad Keller starting for the Cougars.

A-short Hillsboro 6, Salem-Keizer 5 (13). Three down early, the Hops came back to take a lead into the ninth, only to fall behind, tie things up in the ninth and finally win in 13, on SS Dansby Swanson's hit, taking the playoff series 2-1. Starter Tyler Bolton was chased after just 2.1 innings, being charged with three runs on five hits and no walks, with a strikeout, but reliever Cameron Gann steadied the ship by working 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out five, with two hits and a walk. That gave the offense time to come back, beginning when 2B Sergio Alcantara and Swanson had RBI singles in the fifth to get Hillsboro on the board.

A run-scoring double-play and wild pitch gave Hillsboro a 6th inning lead, and Taylor Clarke and Alex Young worked a scoreless seventh and eighth. Out for a second frame, however, Young allowed a pair of solo home-runs, including a two-out shot which returned the lead to the Volcanoes. But Mitsui tied things back up with an RBI single in the ninth, scoring Swanson. Brody Greer tossed three hitless extras, and  the Hops took advantage of Volcanoes errors to load the bases in the 13th, setting up Swanson for a walk-off deep single. He reached base four times on two hits + two walks; Alcantara had a hit + three walks; and C Alexis Olmeda doubled, singled and walked.

Rookie Missoula 2 @ Billings 5. There was no luck for the Osprey either, as they also lost the first game of their playoff series against the Mustangs. Missoula struck first, DH Luke Lowery homering with one out in the second inning, but Billings scored twice in the third off starter Cameron Smith to take the lead. 1B Austin Byler tied things back up in the fourth, also delivering a solo home-run with one out, but the home team went ahead to stay in the fifth, getting a run there, and one more in each of the sixth and seventh innings. Smith ended the night with a line of six innings pitched and four runs allowed (three earned), on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

The Osprey never really threatened in the second half of the game, going 0-for-3 overall with runners in scoring position. Lowery got a single in addition to his long ball, and Scott Schultz worked a scoreless eighth in relief, with a pair of strikeouts. They will have home advantage for the final two games of the series, but need to win both games to progress. They will send Junior Garcia to the mound for tomorrow night's contest against the Mustangs at Ogren Park Allegiance Field.