Before I get to the scores, let me congratulate Emeralds outfielder Nelson Velazquez and Pelicans right-hander Cory Abbott who were your choices for the Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August!
You still have time to vote for the Minor League Player of the Year Award. You’ll get a chance to vote for the Minor League Pitcher of the Year later today.
Emeralds Playoff Wrap:
The 31-45 Eugene Emeralds tripped up the 51-25 Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks), 3-2 to win game one of the best-of-three playoff series.
The Hops broke out to an early lead as they scored a run in the second inning and a run in the third off of starter Eury Ramos. But Ems manager Steven Lerud summoned Eugenio Palma from the bullpen with a runner on third and only one out in the third inning. Palma stranded the runner on third and the Hops never scored again.
The final line on Ramos was two runs on three hits over 2.1 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Palma allowed just one hit over 2.2 innings. Palma struck out five and didn’t walk anyone.
Ems manager Lerud was ejected in the fourth inning after two bad calls went against the Ems. In the third inning, Fernando Kelli was called out on obstruction while running on a grounder down the first base line. In the fourth inning, a ball in the dirt that would have been strike three was ruled a foul tip. Replay showed both calls were wrong, although the obstruction call does fall into a judgement area. But it was a home plate umpire overruling a first base umpire who was ten feet from the play.
The Ems got their first run of the game in the fifth inning when shortstop Luis Vazquez singled and first baseman Grant Fennell walked with one out. Both runners went to second and third on a wild pitch and Vazquez scored on ground out by Nelson Velazquez.
Eugene took the lead for good in the sixth inning. Second baseman Levi Jordan led off the inning with a walk and went to second on a wild pickoff throw. Kelli singled to left field with two outs, scoring Jordan and tying the game. After catcher Caleb Knight singled, a wild pitch sent the two runners to second and third. Kelli, who had 28 steals in the regular season, started dancing off third base. This distracted Hops pitcher Ryan Weiss, who then balked in the go-ahead run.
Meanwhile, Peyton Remy threw three scoreless innings of relief and got the win. He allowed two hits. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone.
Ivan Medina pitched a perfect ninth for the save. He struck out one. He got a scare with two outs in the ninth when pinch-hitter Zack Shannon clobbered a pitch over the left field wall, but the blast hooked foul.
Kelli was 2 for 4.
Third baseman Jake Slaughter was also 2 for 4.
Jordan was 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.
The Emeralds, who had the worst overall record in the Northwest League, now have a one-game-to-none lead in the best-of-three series with Hillsboro. Game two will be Thursday in Hillsboro and game three, if necessary will be Friday in Hillsboro.
These two teams have met in the playoffs each of the past two seasons and the Ems have won both times.