Swanson sends Hops back to Finals

Top D-backs prospect delivers walk-off single in 13th inning

Dansby Swanson is mobbed by teammates after delivering the game-winning single in the 13th. (Jared Ravich/MiLB.com)

By Andrew Kahn / MiLB.com | September 10, 2015 3:24 AM

Dansby Swanson had been in games like this before. At Vanderbilt, he twice reached the College World Series championship round. That experience helped him stay calm and deliver in the clutch on Wednesday night.

The No. 1 overall pick in this year's Draft drove in a run in the fifth inning, scored the tying run in the ninth and delivered a booming walk-off single in the 13th to give Hillsboro a 6-5 win over Salem-Keizer and send the Hops back to the Northwest League Championship Series.

After a wild ninth at Ron Tonkin Field, there was only one baserunner in extra innings before the Hops loaded the bases in the 13th against Nathanael Santiago (0-1). The game's only errors came at the worst time for the Volcanoes as third baseman Dillon Dobson's errant throw allowed Nate Robertson to reach second. After Sergio Alcantara walked, second baseman Richard Amion couldn't handle Zach Nehrir's soft liner, loading the bases for Swanson.

The D-backs' top prospect sent a blast over the head of center fielder Ronnie Jebavy for a series-winning single.

"The biggest thing was just to relax," Swanson said of his approach in the final at-bat. "Sometimes in those situations you try to do too much and press. I tried to stay in the middle of the field. I give a lot of credit to the guys before me for getting on."

Hillsboro took a 4-3 lead into the ninth in the decisive game of the best-of-3 South Division finals, but Jebavy homered on the first pitch from D-backs No. 6 prospect Alex Young. Giants No. 8 prospect Christopher Shaw put Salem-Keizer ahead with a two-out blast to right.

Selected 30 picks after Swanson, Shaw finished with two hits and two RBIs.

Swanson led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, took third on Grant Heyman's double and scored the tying run on Trevor Mitsui's base hit. 

Hillsboro starter Tyler Bolton lasted 2 1/3 innings, but Cameron Gann struck out five over 3 2/3 scoreless frames. Breckin Williams (1-0) fanned two in a perfect 13th for the win.

"In the beginning of the game, we came out kind of sloppy and flat," Swanson said. "Once Cameron came into the game, he pumped us up with his energy. We just competed and tried to get on base however possible."

Hillsboro hosts Tri-City in the Game 1 of the best-of-3 Championship Series on Thursday. The Dust Devils advanced Tuesday by sweeping Everett.

Andrew Kahn is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewKahn. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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