EVERETT, WASH. (May 31, 2023) --- Hops left-hander Avery Short tossed six innings of shutout relief. Hillsboro made a game-saving defensive play in the bottom of the ninth. But, in the end, the Everett Aquasox prevailed 3-2 at Everett Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night, with the winning run scoring in
EVERETT, WASH. (May 31, 2023) --- Hops left-hander Avery Short tossed six innings of shutout relief. Hillsboro made a game-saving defensive play in the bottom of the ninth. But, in the end, the Everett Aquasox prevailed 3-2 at Everett Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night, with the winning run scoring in the bottom of the 11th inning on a wild pitch.
Right-hander Joe Elbis made his Hillsboro debut, and the Aquasox jumped on him for two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out double from Walking Cabrera.
Everett’s 2-0 lead stood up for a long time, as Sox sinkerballer Jordan Jackson was on his game. He worked six innings, allowing just one run on five hits, and recording 13 ground-ball outs. Four of those came on a pair of 5-4-3 double plays – one in the fourth and one in the sixth. Hillsboro’s lone run off Jackson came in the sixth on a double by Wilderd Patino, a single by Channy Ortiz, and an RBI single by Josh Day.
The Hops tied it in the seventh when Gavin Logan walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, went to third on Junior Franco’s single to right, and scored on Luis Curvelo’s second wild pitch of the inning.
Meanwhile, Everett wasted numerous chances to score again. They had already left four on base in the first three innings when they loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on a single and two walks issued by Elbis. Will Mabrey came out of the Hillsboro bullpen and faced one batter, retiring the dangerous Alberto Rodriguez on a fly out to center.
Then it was Short’s turn. Now in a piggyback role with Elbis, and working in relief for the first time this year, Short had one of the best outings by a Hops pitcher all season. He didn’t allow a runner into scoring position until his fifth inning of work, the bottom of the ninth. And in that inning, a big relay by his teammates bailed him out.
The game was tied 2-2 when Ben Ramirez singled with one out. That brought up Rodriguez again, and this time he won the battle, yanking a double into the right field corner. Ramirez, carrying the potential winning run, tried to score from first, but the Hops were up to the challenge: right-fielder Brett Johnson dug the ball out of the corner and fired the ball to Ortiz, who gunned a strike to Logan from shallow right field. Logan’s tag just beat Ramirez for the second out of the inning, and when Short induced clean-up hitter Tyler Locklear to ground out to third base, the game was headed to extra frames.
Logan Rinehart had already tossed two dominant scoreless innings (the eighth and ninth), and Mike Flynn picked up where Rinehart left off. With Junior Franco serving as the designated runner at second base in the top of the tenth, Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt to send Franco to third, but Flynn struck out both Patino and Ortiz to keep the game tied.
Everett began the bottom of the tenth with the winning run at second, but Short was unfazed. He struck out Cabrera, retired Axel Sanchez on a ground-out to short, and struck out Randy Bednar to end the threat and cap his six-inning stint.
In the top of the 11th, Hillsboro wasted a great chance to forge their first lead. With Ortiz at second base and one out, Gary Mattis Jr. singled to right, so hard that Ortiz was held at third by Hops manager Ronnie Gajownik. Jesus Valdez grounded one to third, and Ortiz was hung up and tagged out in a rundown. And with two on and two out, Shane Muntz flew out to right.
With the game still tied 2-2, Gerald Ogando came out of the Hops bullpen for the bottom of the 11th. Pinch-runner Blake Rambusch was the designated runner. Ogando struck out Charlie Welch, and after a passed ball had sent Rambusch to third, Ogando struck out James Parker. He was an out away from sending the game to the 12th inning, but his 0-1 pitch to leadoff man Harry Ford was very high, glancing off Logan’s glove and allowing Rambusch to dive home with the winning run.
It was Hillsboro’s first extra-inning loss this year after three previous victories. And the Hops fell just short of advancing past the 11th inning for the first time since the new extra-inning rules were instituted in 2018. Since then, the Hops have played 33 extra-inning games, with 23 ending in the 10th, nine ending in the 11th, and one doubleheader game scheduled for seven innings which ended in the 8th.
Hillsboro (19-28) and Everett (24-23) have split the first two games of the six-game series. Game three of the series is Thursday night at 7:05, with the radio broadcast beginning at 6:50PM on Rip City Radio 620AM and at www.RipCityRadio.com.