HILLSBORO, Ore. - The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes found themselves trailing the Hillsboro Hops early on and were not able to catch up to the Hops offensive firepower and lost 11-2 on August 8 at Ron Tonkin Field.
Designated hitter Dan Swain filled in the home run column in the bottom of the first inning with his first professional home run with Hillsboro, which was a two-run laser beam that was struck sharp enough that it could have cut through the thick veil of smoke creeping in from the forest fires in east Oregon as it jetted over the left field wall.
The Hops tacked on one run in the bottom of the second inning before pouncing on the Volcanoes for six runs in the bottom of the third inning. With two runners on and one out, Swain delivered a two-run base hit off of Volcanoes starting pitcher Julio Benitez for his third and fourth runs batted in as the Hops led 5-0.
Benitez was then given the hook by Salem-Keizer skipper Jolbert Cabrera after the single by Swain, and right-handed relief man John Timmins was called upon to restore order in the ballgame for the Volcanoes.
However, Timmins was unable to tame the Hops hitters, who plated three more following Timmins appearance. The Volcanoes reliever had a better chance of finding the lost city of Atlantis than home plate, as Timmins struggled with his control on the mound.
With Swain on first base and Hillsboro third baseman Drew Ellis in the batter's box, Timmins threw a wild pitch that advanced Swain to second base. Timmins eventually walked Ellis, and with Hops catcher Daulton Varsho, Timmins hurled another wild pitch that moved both base runners to second and third base.
Timmins dished out a free pass to Varsho thereafter, and then walked his Hillsboro center fielder Tra Holmes to plate Swain as the Hops led 6-0. A third wild pitch off of the fingertips of Timmins allowed Ellis to cross home plate to increase the Hops' advantage to 7-0.
Hillsboro capped off the inning with a two-run single off of the bat of left fielder Jorge Perez to augment the lead to 9-0.
Hops starting hurler Tyler Keele cruised through the first three innings unblemished until the Volcanoes pushed across their first run via a sacrifice fly by first baseman Ryan Kirby, as they trailed the Hops 9-1.
Nonetheless, Kirby's sacrifice fly was all the Volcanoes could muster against Keele, who shutout their offense over the next two innings before he was relieved by righty Juan Torres. Keele was masterful in a winning effort, as the Clayton, North Carolina native threw six innings of one-run ball. He surrender just two hits and one base on balls while striking out seven as he evened his record to 4-4 on the season.
The bullpen backed up Keele's quality start by yielding just one more run on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Logan Baldwin in the top of the eighth inning.
The Hops scored twice more in the contest. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Swain drove in his fifth run of the game with a base hit to extend the lead to 10-1 at that point. First baseman Luis Lara also singled to score a run in the bottom of the eighth frame to bring the score to its final outcome of 11-2.
Benitez took the loss after relinquishing six runs (five earned) and five hits while not walking or striking out a batter in 2.1 third innings to lower his record to 1-3 on the year.
Salem-Keizer and Hillsboro will play the middle game of their three-game series today at Ron Tonkin Field. The Volcanoes have yet to announce their starting pitcher for the ballgame, but whoever gets the nod will go toe-to-toe with Hops starting right-handed pitcher Tyler Vail (0-1, 4.50 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.