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One Swing Not Enough

Tawa homers on first pitch, but Hops lose 6-1 at Everett
May 20, 2022

It's way too early to call it a curse and and two times does not make a trend. To quote Goldfinger: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

For the second time this season, Hillsboro leadoff hitter Tim Tawa homered on the first pitch of the game, only to have that be the only Hops run in a loss.

The Everett AquaSox defeated the Hops 6-1 at Funko Field Thursday night to go up two games to none in what will be a five-game series following the postponement of Tuesday's opening game due to health & safety protocols.

Down 1-0, the Frogs parlayed a leadoff walk and a couple of potential inning-ending defensive plays not made into a four-run second inning and kept the Hops at bay from there, knocking Hillsboro from its first-place perch in the Northwest League.

Juan Mercedes picked up his first win of the season following an 0-5 start, allowing four hits with five strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter. Adding to Hillsboro's frustration, all four of those hits went for extra bases. But Tawa's leadoff double in the third went wanting, Danny Oriente's one-out double in the fourth turned into an out when he tried to make it a triple and Jose Curpa was unable to score from first base on Adrian Del Castillo's two-out double to the left field corner in the fifth. Blame Funko Field's tight confines for that.

Meanwhile, Everett loaded the bases with none out in the second inning on two walks and a James Parker single. Jamieson Parker fanned Cole Barr, then got what he was looking for, a grounder on the infield off the bat of number nine hitter Myles Miller. While not the definition of a "tailor-made" double play, the Hops had a decent chance to turn to, but third baseman Tristin English one-hopped the throw to second and everybody was safe as Everett tied the score. Noelvi Marte followed with a deep fly to right center field. Tawa made a diving attempt at a catch, but the ball glanced off his glove for a two RBI double, scoring Parker and Victor Labrada. Parker was on base because Caleb Roberts could not make a similar diving catch earlier in the inning.

The AquaSox would bat around and plate four and not look back, adding two insurance runs in the seventh on a two-run homer to right center by Spencer Packard, his seventh of the season.

Hill pitched well enough to deserve a more positive outcome, but for the second consecutive night, free passes opened the door to Everett runs, while the Hops failed to take advantage of a leadoff hit batter in the seventh and leadoff walk in the eighth by Everett's beleaguered bullpen.

Marte, a top 20 prospect in major league baseball, went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored and has reached base six times in the first two games of the series. Tawa's homer to center was his team-leading sixth of the season. Back on April 23 at Spokane, he homered on Joe Rock's first pitch of the game