Kevin Cron stood out at this year's College World Series with Texas Christian but couldn't help the Horned Frogs to a title. In his second postseason stint this season, his hardware hope is still alive, thanks in large part to his work at the plate.
The 21-year-old first baseman delivered a pair of go-ahead hits on Wednesday night as Hillsboro defeated Boise, 5-2, to sweep the best-of-3 Northwest League semifinals. The win earns the Hops their first-ever spot in the Championship Series, where they will face Spokane or Vancouver.
Wednesday marked the first home postseason contest in Hillsboro's two-year history and 3,084 fans showed up to provide an electric feel for a Minor League playoff game.
"We didn't expect anything less," Cron said. "You could definitely feel the energy from that. To give a little something back to them for their support for us all year long and getting the win, that was special."
Cron put Hillsboro on the board in the first inning. After Taylor Ratliff hit a leadoff double, the Arizona native drove him in with a ground-rule double to right.
The 14th-round pick in this year's Draft provided a key RBI in the fifth, snapping a 2-2 tie with a single to right that scored Steve Nyisztor.
Cron's brother, C.J., made his Major League debut this season for the Angels and his father, Chris, is the D-backs' Minor League hitting coordinator. At TCU, Cron played into the second round of the College World Series, homering and earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
"It's kind of the same thing," he said, comparing the experiences. "We're all ballplayers. Whether it's college or high school or pro ball, it's always fun. Postseason ball is what it's all about. It's a long season, no matter what level you're at. To get a series win and move onto the championship, that's what we live for. No matter the level, it's something special to celebrate."
Markus Solbach (1-0) got the win in his postseason debut. The German right-hander limited Boise to two runs on five hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out six.
Zac Curtis picked up his second save of the series with a scoreless ninth. He shared the league lead with 14 during the regular season.
In other Northwest League playoff action:
Vancouver 1, Spokane 0
The Canadians took a 1-0 lead in the other semifinal series behind a gem from Ryan Borucki, who struck out four over seven innings. The Indians managed five hits and no walks against the left-hander, who had a 1.90 ERA in five regular-season appearances (four starts). Mike Reeves provided all the support Vancouver needed with an RBI single in the seventh. Box score