“I don’t even know what to say anymore!”
That was the reaction of Vancouver play-by-play man Rob Fai after Yorman Rodriguez dropped a pop up in foul territory on the first base side. Had Rodriguez came up with the baseball, the first inning would have come to an end with no runs scored. Instead, a two-run home run on the very next pitch off the bat of Kristian Robinson put the Hops ahead to stay. The blast over the centre field wall scored a Steven Leyton walk. That set the tone in Hillsboro’s 6-0 victory over the C’s at Nat Bailey Stadium Wednesday afternoon. The Hops completed the three-game sweep over the Canadians and won the last six games of their seven-game season series.
That spoiled the Northwest League debut of righthander Luis Quinones. The 22 year-old Quinones was the Toronto Blue Jays 34th round pick in last month’s MLB draft.
Hillsboro put up another two-run frame in the fourth against William Gaston. A throwing error by Gaston pulled Rodriguez off the first base bag and allowed Jesus Marriaga to reach base. A wild pitch, a walk to David Garza and a double steal put two runners in scoring position. An infield single by Nick Dalesandro that deflected off the glove of third baseman Trevor Schwecke allowed Marriaga to score. That was followed by a Nick Grande fielder’s choice to second that saw Garza cross the plate.
Grayson Huffman gave up the final run in the ninth when the Leyton-Robinson combo struck again. Leyton greeted Huffman with a base hit, got into scoring position on a wild pitch and rumbled home on a Robinson double.
The Hops tacked on a run in the eighth when Robinson worked a leadoff walk against newcomer Mike Pascoe. With two away, Pascoe plunked Garza with a pitch and walked Dalesandro to load the bases. Then the wildest pitch in recent memory which missed the far side of the batter’s box entirely permitted Robinson to cross the pentagon.
Deyni Olivero limited Vancouver to three hits and a hit by pitch over six shutout frames. Erin Baldwin handled the next two innings and pitched a two-hitter. Langley, BC native Jake Polancic retired the side in order in the ninth.
Radar Gun Rundown
Quinones struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches, finishing off Nicky Martinez with a fastball of 94 miles per hour. His other strikeout clocked in at 82. He also pitched at 77, 78, 80-84, 87 and 88. Quinones also hesitated at times before following through with his delivery in his two-inning stint.
Gaston had a strikeout at 84 and another at 88. He was at 90-94 at the high end and 76-78 at the low end. In between, he registered at 82 and 86-89. Pascoe recorded a strikeout at 86 looking. His pitches clustered at 84-90 and touched 92.
The C’s first hit came from leadoff man Cameron Eden when he flared one that landed just fair inside the right field line but he would be erased at second on a Rodriguez fielder’s choice.
Schwecke had a leadoff single in the second and Will Robertson hammered one off the wall in right field but it was a few feet foul. He would go down on strikes on the next pitch. Adrian Ramos took one for the team with two away to push Schwecke to second but Davis Schneider was denied by a nice running catch in left-center field by Jorge Barrossa.
The next time Vancouver had runners on was with one out in the fifth when Ramos reached on a Leyton throwing error at short and Schneider singled. That opportunity would be wasted when Eden flied out and Luis De Los Santos flied out.
The Canadians tried their luck again in the seventh by getting two more runners on after a one-out hit by Brito and a two-out knock by Schneider but Eden was caught looking at strike three.
The only real positive of Wednesday’s loss was the performance of Schneider. He started a nice 4-3 double play when the Hops put on a hit-and-run with Barrosa taking off for second. Schneider went over to cover the second base bag and was in the right place at the right time when Marriaga lined out. Barrosa was easy pickings as Schneider threw to first to complete the twin-killing. At the plate, Schneider had the only two-hit game in a Vancouver uniform.
The C’s hit the road for a three-game series as they make their lone visit to Salem-Keizer to take on the Volcanoes. First pitches for all three games are at 6:35 pm and can be heard on Sportsnet 650 and CanadiansBaseball.com with Rob Fai.
Monty’s Mounties will return home Sunday for a 5:05 pm start against the Everett AquaSox. That will mark the start of six straight games against the Frogs. After a day off Wednesday, the C’s will head south on I-5 to visit the AquaSox Thursday.
As mentioned, the C’s have two new pitchers in the fold in right-handers Quinones and Pascoe.
Quinones—a product of San Jacinto College—pitched twice in relief for Bluefield and posted a 2.84 earned run average. The Arecibo, Puerto Rico native earned his first professional save June 28 by striking out 5 batters over three innings against Burlington. He is wearing #37.
Pascoe began this year with the Lansing Lugnuts where he went 1-2 with a 5.34 earned run average. Like Quinones, Pascoe also pitched for San Jacinto College. The 21 year-old from Arlington, New York was taken by the Jays in the 24th round in 2018. Pascoe is wearing #32, the number that was worn by Adams Cuevas as he goes down to Bluefield. The 23 year-old right-hander from San Isidro in the Dominican Republic was cuffed around for five runs in his first outing but kept the opposition off the scoreboard in three of his next four outings, including his last two outings. He pitched a shutout inning on Canada Day.
In another edition of ‘Top Blue Jays prospect bypassing Vancouver’, Eric Pardinho returned from the injured list and made his Midwest League debut with the Lansing Lugnuts Tuesday. There was speculation the 18 year-old Brazilian would make a pit stop in Vancouver. He is rated the #4 prospect in the Jays system by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.