The Vancouver Canadians won three and lost three to the Hillsboro Hops at their now permanent 2021 home of Ron Tonkin Field.
Things did not start well for the C’s against the host Hops Tuesday as they fell 8-2 in the series opener. Will Robertson blasted his third home run of the season to right field in the fourth inning and Eric Rivera singled home the other Vancouver run in the ninth. Rivera and Spencer Horwitz had two-hit games. Sem Robberse took the loss but spun a quality start of three runs over six innings. He struck out four and walked one while giving up just three hits (including a Blaze Alexander home run) and getting seven ground ball outs. Will McAffer was roughed up for five runs in 1-1/3 innings as he gave up a three-run shot to A.J. Vukovich. Jol Concepion finished up by getting the last two outs.
The Hops won round two Wednesday night decisively 11-4. Paxton Schultz was pounded for seven runs over two innings, surrendering a home run to Ronny Simon for the game’s first run. Willy Gaston gave up the other four runs over three frames. Justin Maese worked a scoreless seventh and eighth and Thomas Ruwe put up a zero in the ninth. Orelvis Martinez broke up the shutout with his fifth home run of the season in the sixth inning. Luis De Los Santos‘ sac fly in the seventh and Tanner Morris‘ two-run double in the ninth rounded out the scoring. Morris had the only two-hit game for Vancouver.
The Canadians earned their first win of the series by holding off the Hops 8-6 Thursday. Rafael Lantigua homered to left-center field on the first pitch of the game to get the C’s in gear.
An RBI single by Robertson and bases-loaded walks by Philip Clarke—preceding a 10-pitch walk by Schneider—and Zac Cook put Vancouver ahead for good in the fourth. Clarke doubled home two more runs in the fifth and Andres Guerra chipped with an RBI knock.
Martinez singled home another run in the seventh. Clarke and Lantigua each had two hits and a walk. C.J. Van Eyk worked two perfect innings before leaving due to injury. Andrew Bash got the win with three innings of two-run relief. Hagen Danner put zeros in the sixth and seventh but Roither Hernandez yielded four runs in one-plus innings of work. Gabriel Ponce put out the fire with a strikeout and a game-ending 4-3 double play to earn his first save.
Vancouver tied up the series at two games apiece with a come-from-behind 8-7 over Hillsboro Friday. The Hops chased Adam Kloffenstein from the game just two innings in by jumping out to a 5-0 lead. Horwitz got the C’s on the board with a two-run homer in the third for his seventh of the year.
Davis Schneider went deep for the eighth time this year to kick off a five-run rally in the seventh.
A Lantigua sac fly, a Morris RBI double and a Martinez run-scoring single brought in the other runs.
After the Hops rallied for two runs in the eighth to tie, Cook untied it by belting his sixth homer of the year in the ninth, capping off a 4-for-4 day at the dish.
Martinez had three hits and Anthony Morales reached base twice with a single and a walk. Hayden Juenger and Concepion kept the game from getting out of hand with two shutout innings apiece with Juenger striking out four and Concepion whiffing three. McAffer worked the final three frames and despite two unearned runs, he collected four K’s to get the win.
Hillsboro assured themselves of a split in the series with a 9-6 win Saturday. Robertson blasted a two-run home run to right for his fourth of the season in the second inning and Morris doubled home a pair and Horwitz singled home another to give Vancouver a 5-4 lead. Horwitz delivered his eighth long ball of the season in the fifth for the final run of the game.
Lantigua, Horwitz and Martinez all had two-hit efforts. Alex Nolan was knocked around for nine runs over four innings. Gaston pitched three scoreless frames and Ruwe posted a zero in the eighth.
The Canadians salvaged the series split with an 8-4 win in Sunday’s finale. A sac fly by Guerra and two-run singles by Morris and Robertson sandwiched a Horwitz RBI knock to put Monty’s Mounties up 6-0 in the second inning.
A Morris RBI single in the sixth and a Martinez solo homer to left-center field in the seventh gave the C’s some insurance.
Morris had three hits, Rivera had two and Martinez walked twice to get on base three times. Robberse was one out away from getting a victory but ran out of gas, giving up two runs in the fifth. He allowed five hits and walked a pair but struck out six. Maese stranded one of two runners and pitched 1-1/3 shutout innings for the win. Ponce allowed two runs (one earned) in the seventh and Hernandez finished up with a pair of zeros.
The Vancouver Canadians will have a new pitcher join them for their series in Everett with C.J. Van Eyk going on the seven-day injured list. Righthander Alejandro Melean has been promoted from Low-A Dunedin. The 20 year-old from Maracaibo, Venezuela posted a 3-5 record with a 5.29 earned run average over 10 starts and nine relief appearances. The 6-foot-0 righthander struck out 75 batters and walked 30 over 63.0 innings with Dunedin. Melean will wear number 17, last worn by recently-retired righthander Brian Rapp.
2019 C’s infielder Trevor Schwecke will also be with the club in Everett. The 23 year-old from Marshfield, Wisconsin has been rehabbing with the Florida Complex League Blue Jays where he batted .250 with a .526 on-base percentage, driving in three runs and stealing two bases in five games.
Congratulations goes out to Spencer Horwitz for winning High-A West Player of the Week honours for August 17-22. Horwitz batted .619 with three doubles, two home runs, six runs batted in and five walks. He slugged 1.048 and had an OPS of 1.715. Sebastian Espino won the previous Player of the Week award after hitting .526 during the week of August 10-15.
Horwitz and Morris both have 18-game hitting streaks on the go with Morris having reached base in 27 straight games.
The 47-55 Canadians begin a six-game series in Everett tonight with Paxton Schultz getting the ball for Vancouver. Game time is 7:05 pm on CanadiansBaseball.com.
Adam Kloffenstein will start Thursday with Sem Robberse and Paxton Schultz getting the weekend starts. Wednesday and Friday’s starters have not been announced.
Saving the worst for last, the Canadians announced last week they would not be returning to Nat Bailey Stadium in 2021. President Andy Dunn told Steve Ewen of The Province that he was hopeful the club would have returned home in July but the ongoing pandemic presented too many challenges.
After this series in Everett, the C’s return home to play their final 12 games against Spokane and Hillsboro to wrap up the season.
There has been no baseball at the Nat since August 30, 2019. I sure hope this streak comes to an end in April of 2022.