Eugene, OR - After a delay of one day, four scoreless innings to start the game, and a big homerun to start the scoring for the Hillsboro Hops, things finally fell in the Emeralds favor late as they took game one of the NWL Divisional Round 3-2 over the Hillsboro Hops in front of 1,408 at PK Park.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Emeralds (1-0) got a rally started with a one-out walk to Michael Cruz. Will Remillard then worked a full count and fouled off several pitches from Hops (0-1) reliever Matt Peacock (0-1, 13.50 ERA) before singling, moving Cruz to third.
After a visit from his pitching coach, Peacock settled and got Jhonny Bethencourt to strikeout looking on three pitches. Thankfully, Gustavo Polanco came through and picked up his teammate with a single, breaking the tie and giving the Ems a 3-2 lead.
The game started much differently for the Ems and the Hops, as neither team's offense could solve the pitching. Hillsboro threw out Randall Delgado, a Major Leaguer on a rehab assignment, for one inning before giving way to Brian Shaffer for the next three innings. The Ems countered with staff ace Jose Albertos, who pitched masterfully in his first postseason start.
Albertos befuddled the Hops offense for four innings, allowing just two base runners before Drew Ellis broke the scoreless tie with a lead-off homer in the fifth. Albertos finished with a career high 5.2 innings, giving up two runs and five hits and three strikeouts. Eugene countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning off reliever Kevin McCanna when Chris Singleton doubled home Bethencourt.
The Hops tried to strike back in the sixth but looked like they would be stuffed after a double play, but a single by John Grotjohn along with a stolen base and a balk allowed Luis Lara to double and give the Hops a 2-1 lead.
After a Bethencourt walk in the seventh, Singleton reached on a fielder's choice with two-outs. Zach Davis then singled to score Bethencourt and made it a 2-2 game.
Elvis Diaz and Jake Steffens closed the game out, each pitching 1.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Game 2 of the NWL Divisional will be in Hillsboro on Thursday, Sept 7.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.