By HERB SWETT
Of the Keizertimes
The Volcanoes kept fighting Monday, eclipse day, but fell to the visiting Hillsboro Hops 9-5.
Believed to be the first eclipse-scheduled game in the history of professional baseball, the event drew 5,297 fans for the largest attendance not on a Fourth of July in Keizer Stadium history.
They came from 34 states not including Oregon, as well as nine foreign countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, England, Italy, Japan, Norway, and South Africa. Canadians came from British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.
Noah Petro, a research scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, threw two ceremonial pitches, one just before the eclipse and one just after it. Both balls are on their way to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Alexis Mather, Miss Oregon 2016, sang the national anthem.
The plan was for the first inning to be played before the eclipse, the remainder of the game after. However, a traffic delay for the Hops and a lengthy top of the first inning changed plans. John Timmins, normally a reliever for Salem-Keizer, was the starting pitcher with the plan for a regular starter, Peter Lanoo, to take over for the second inning, which he did.
The bottom of the first, however, did not start until the eclipse ended. Rather than start Tucker Ward, a reliever, the Hops started a rotation pitcher, Tyler Badano.
Hillsboro made things rough in the top of the first. Ryan Grotjohn hit a one-out single to right field and went to second base on an infield single by Luis Lara. Dan Swain singled to center, driving in Grotjohn, and went to second on a throw. With Swain on third, Daulton Varsho hit a home run to left, his first of two homers in the game. In the middle of the first, the Hops had a 4-0 lead.
Badano set the Volcanoes down in order in the first. Lanoo did the same to Hillsboro in the top of the second.
In the Volcano second, Orlando Garcia hit a one-out double down the left field line. Manuel Geraldo singled to center, driving him home, and reached third on a single to center by Michael Sexton. Rob Calabrese hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Geraldo. Hillsboro’s lead was cut to 4-2.
The Hops added to their lead in the fourth. Thompson led off with a single to center and went to second as Varsho grounded out. Ryan Tufts reached first and then second on an error by third baseman Shane Matheny that allowed Thompson to score. Jorge Perez doubled to center, driving in Tufts and giving the Hops a 6-2 lead.
In the Volcano fourth, Garcia singled to center and reached third on a single to right by Geraldo. Sexton got Garcia home on a fielder’s choice, and the score was 6-3.
Lara added a run in the top of the fifth with a homer to right.
Varsho led off the sixth with a home run over the right field fence. Owings singled to right, and Ryan Dobson brought him home with a double to left. Hillsboro led 9-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Logan Baldwin led off with a walk. Ryan Kirby followed with a single to left, saw left fielder Connor Owings bobble the ball, and headed for second. Owings, however, made a quick recovery and fired to first, and Kirby did not get back there in time. Baldwin reached third as Garcia grounded out and scored in an infield single by Geraldo.
Cesar Yanez pitched for the Volcanoes in the seventh, allowing one hit but no runs.
Facing Luis Castillo in the bottom of the seventh, the Volcanoes got only one baserunner, on a walk.
A newcomer, Weilly Yan, pitched for the Volcanoes in the ninth, walking two but not allowing a run.
Matt Peacock, pitching the ninth for Hillsboro, walked Rob Calabrese with one out. A double by Matheny moved Calabrese to third, and he scored on a ground out by Malique Ziegler. That was the fifth and last Salem-Keizer run.
Badano was the winning pitcher with a 1-2 record. Timmins took the loss, going to 1-4.
“They’re playing hard,” manager Jolbert Cabrera said of his Volcanoes, noting the first inning was the biggest problem.
“I think we’ve just got to be consistent all around,” was Garcia’s comment. “We need to put it together.