For the over 2,200 souls that braved record heat and smoky air to welcome the Hillsboro Hops to August, a little eight-run deficit wasn't going to send anyone scurrying to the exits.
Camden Duzenack's base hit to right field scored Ryan Dobson with the winning run as the Hillsboro Hops defeated the Vancouver Canadians 9-8 in 11 innings at Ron Tonkin Field Thursday night.
It was Duzenack's third run-producing hit of the night and capped a comeback from an 8-0 deficit as the Hops won their sixth straight game against the NWL North Division first-half champion Canadians in a potential preview of the NWL Championship series.
Dobson, batting leadoff in only his third game in a Hops uniform, drew a leadoff walk in the final inning. Bryan Araiza moved Dobson to second with a sacrifice bunt before Duzenack lined a pitch from Vancouver reliever Grayson Huffman down the right field line to set up the postgame celebration.
Duzenack went 3-for-6 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored. Dobson reached base three times, scoring twice and driving in one run.
Erbert Gonzalez pitched two innings to get the win as the Hops bullpen combined to record nine straight scoreless innings. Vancouver had ten hits through five innings and only one hit thereafter.
The Hops trailed 8-0 before they came up to bat in the second inning as the Canadians jumped on two Hops pitchers making their NWL debuts, starter Tyler Badamo and reliever Juan Torres, sending 12 men to the plate in the second. The inning featured a bases-clearing double by Norberto Obeso off Badamo, while Torres allowed the first three men he faced to reach base as Kacy Clemens plated three more runs with a triple.
Torres would settle in and pitch three scoreless innings of relief as the Hops began to mount their comeback wtih three runs in the third inning and four more in the fifth. Duzenack and Pavin Smith hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the third inning with Smith driving in a pair. In the fifth, Araiza doubled and scored on Duzenack's ground single up the middle. A single and a walk loaded the bases before Tra Holmes was hit by a 3-2 pitch from Vancouver's Jose Espada. Chis Hall replaced Espada and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Ryan Grotjohn and an RBI double by Jorge Perez before recording the final out of the inning.
Now an 8-7 game, the Hops pen continued to put up zeros. Jose Martinez pitched around a pair of two-out walks in the sixth inning. Kevin Ginkel gave up a leadoff walk in the seventh, but retired the next six consecutive batters with three strikeouts. Breckin Williams sprinted to the mound in the ninth and retired all three batters he faced.
The Hops couldn't touch Hall in the sixth and seventh, but Ryan Grotjohn led off the bottom of the eighth with a double to right center and Ryan Dobson knocked in the game-tying run with a single to left center.
The Hops threatened in the ninth, getting the first two runners aboard after an error and a walk, but Huffman got Drew Ellis to ground into a double play and retired Daulton Varsho after Clemens made a diving stop behind first of his broken bat grounder and tosed to Huffman at the bag just in time to sent the game to extra innings.
Gonzalez retired the side in the tenth, then got in some hot water in the 11th inning, hitting Riley Adams with a pitch before Clemens singled to right. But Varsho back-picked Adams at second after a missed bunt attempt by Bryan Lizardo and the Canadians' catcher was tagged out in a rundown before Lizardo fanned and Cullen Large popped out harmlessly to second.
The Hops and Canadians play game two of the five-game series Friday night at Ron Tonkin Field. The game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet NW at 7 p.m. and live radio coverage on Rip City Radio 620 AM begins with the pregame show at 6:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.