The playoff hopes of the Eugene Emeralds (15-18, 31-40) were finally dealt a fatal blow on Wednesday evening as the Ems suffered a 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (17-16, 43-28) at PK Park.
Entering the night with their backs against the proverbial postseason wall, the Ems took the field needing to win all six of the team's remaining regular season games while simultaneously also needing six straight losses from Hillsboro in order to make the postseason and defend their Northwest League title.
Sadly for the Ems, they got the exactly the opposite start they were hoping for, surrendering three runs in the first inning to quickly find themselves in a three-run deficit after just three outs of play.
In the second, Salem-Keizer stretched their lead to 4-0 behind a Jairo Pomares RBI single, but the Ems answered right back in the bottom half of the frame thanks to an RBI groundout from Jonathan Soto that scored Yovanny Cuevas from third, who had led off the inning reaching safely via a walk.
The Volcanoes regained a four-run cushion in the fourth thanks to an Armani Smith sacrifice fly that scored Tyler Wyatt, but Eugene responded one inning later in a big way thanks to a big swing of the bat. With two runners on base and Edmond Americaan at the plate, the second-year pro slammed a Travis Perry offering over the right field fence and on top of the University of Oregon player development facility, pulling the Ems back within just one run. The big blast was Americaan's third round-tripper of the season.
Salem-Keizer added what initially seemed to be just an insurance run in the top of the ninth behind an RBI double from Carter Aldrete that scored Jeff Houghtby, who had reached on a double of his own moments before. However, that run from Houghtby proved to be pivotal as the Ems would immediately respond in the home half of the inning.
After loading the bases with no outs, back-to-back strikeouts put the Ems down to potentially their final batter, but Yovanny Cuevas kept the game alive by drawing a walk to score Jacob Olson and cut Eugene's deficit back to one. Luis Vazquez then stepped to the plate aiming to be the hero, but he was only able to muster a soft grounder back to the pitcher, Deiyerbert Bolivar, who easily fielded his position before firing to first for the final out, sealing a 6-5 win for Salem-Keizer while officially ending Eugene's playoff hopes.
The Emeralds continue the regular season's final homestand on Thursday when 2019 5th rounder Josh Burgmann gets the start on the mound for the Ems. Thursday is Nightmare on EMS Street Night as well as $3 Thursday at PK Park featuring $3 box seats, $3 parking, $3 32 oz. Pepsi fountain drinks and discounted Hamm's Tall Boys.
You can find the full promotional schedule for the 2019 Eugene Emeralds season by visiting www.EmeraldsBaseball.com.
Tickets to Emeralds home games are on sale now at www.EmeraldsBaseball.com or by calling (541) 342-5367.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.