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 Hillsboro Hops

Hops End First Half with Win on Late Logan Longball

June 21, 2024 - Northwest League (NWL)
Hillsboro Hops News Release


EVERETT, WASH. - Hops catcher Gavin Logan is a superb defender whom Hops coaches believe is a better hitter than this year's numbers indicate. He's finally getting more consistent playing time, and his recent upturn in at-bats seems to be paying off.

On Thursday night, Logan homered for the second consecutive game, this one a three-run eighth-inning no-doubter at Everett Memorial Stadium. Logan's longball turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead, and Hops reliever Alfred Morillo snuffed out a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth in a 4-2 win. Everett had just two hits the entire game.

Hillsboro finished the first half of the season alone in second place, two games clear of Eugene. At 35-30, the Hops are five games above .500 for the first time since they were 6-1 to begin the 2023 season. Spokane (38-26) won the first half flag, 3.5 games better than the Hops. Everett (32-34) finished in fourth place, seven games out.

All teams' records revert to 0-0 for the second-half pennant race, which begins Friday. In September, the first-half winner meets the second-half winner in the best-of-five Northwest League Championship Series. If Spokane wins both halves, their playoff opponent will be the second-place club in the second-half standings.

Right-hander Roman Angelo got the start for the Hops on Thursday in Everett. The reigning Northwest League Pitcher of the Week was greeted rudely by Everett left-fielder Victor Labrada, who tripled into the right-field corner on Angelo's first pitch of the night. On the next-pitch, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Brock Rodden made it 1-0 Everett.

Angelo, unperturbed, settled in from there, and allowed just one more hit --- an infield single by Everett catcher Andrew Miller --- in his six-inning stint. He was a little wilder than usual, issuing five walks, but only one of them scored, on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly from Gabriel Moncada. Angelo struck out six.

The Hops had several early chances to get to Everett starter Brandyn Garcia, but came up short each time. Hillsboro put runners at first and third with none out in the first inning, had a runner at second with none out in the second, and runners at first and second with two out in the third, but each time Garcia was up to the task. The hard-throwing lefty, who somehow isn't listed among the Mariners' Top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, worked six shutout frames, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out 12. Garcia's career-high 12 Ks matched the most-ever against the Hops by an opposing pitcher in a single game. (Another Everett lefty, Brandon Williamson, struck out 12 Hops in Everett on June 6th, 2021.)

Hillsboro, though, was able to do damage to the Everett bullpen. With two out in the seventh, Hops right fielder Wyatt Crenshaw singled to left-center off righty Tyler Cleveland, and Manny Pena followed with an RBI double. And in the eighth, the Hops turned the game around against righty Juan Burgos.

Jack Hurley doubled off the wall in center to begin the inning, and Neyfy Castillo reached base on a fielding error by Sox third baseman Caleb Cali.

With runners at the corners and none out, Burgos snapped off a succession of quality sliders to strike out both Junior Franco and Brett Johnson. Up came Logan. Burgos jumped ahead 0-2, as Logan swung and missed at two more sharp-breaking sliders.

Burgos, though, went to the well one too many times. His 0-2 slider was obliterated by Logan to straightaway right field for his three-run homer. Remarkably, it was just Hillsboro's third home run this season with more than one man on base, and the first since Castillo hit a grand slam at Everett on May 2nd.

Hops righty Zane Russell had worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning in relief of Angelo, but he ran into problems in the eighth. With one out, he walked Josh Hood, and with two out, he walked R.J. Schreck. Hillsboro manager Javier Colina summoned the righty Morillo from Hillsboro's bullpen, and he promptly walked Cali on four pitches to load the bases. Morillo, however, got ahead of Moncada 0-2, and eventually finished him off with a swinging strikeout on a 2-2 high fastball to end the inning.

The bottom of the ninth was not as eventful. Morillo retired the side in order to earn his second save. Russell (2-1) picked up the win.

Pena had three hits --- two doubles and a single --- and is hitting .375 (15-for-40) against Everett this year.

Hillsboro will play their first nine games of the second half on the road --- three more in Everett, and then six in Vancouver. The Hops return home July 1-3 against Eugene.

Game five of the seven-game series in Everett will be at 7:05PM on Friday. Pregame airtime is 6:50PM on Rip City Radio 620AM and at www.RipCityRadio.com.


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