Notes from yesterday’s 19-inning, record-setting game

Okay, I admit it: I’m a little odd when it comes to extra-inning games. Most play-by-play guys don’t like them. I do, for a couple of reasons: number one, since most games (unlike yesterday) are night games, I don’t have anything better to do at 11:00 at night — if we’re on the road, I’ll just be going back to the hotel. If we’re at home, my family’s asleep by the time I get home anyway.

But the bigger reason is this: if we’re in extra innings, it’s a guarantee it’s a great game. (And besides, extra innings give me more time to flap my lips — er, describe more action and tell more stories, which is the main reason I do this job.)

So, as far as I’m concerned, bring ’em on. As the Hillsboro Hops game yesterday entered the 17th inning — making it the longest I’ve ever broadcast in about 1,870 career games — I was thinking, let’s make this truly epic. Let’s break the NWL record of 25 innings. (Admittedly, it did help that my broadcast partner, Matt Richert, was with me yesterday. I wasn’t going solo, but that would’ve been fun too.)

Well, we fell short of the league record, when the Hops won 5-4 on a short sacrifice foul fly by Ryan Gebhardt in the bottom of the 19th, with John Leonard scoring the winning run.

But we didn’t fall short of epic.

Consider (and as you do, remember that the Northwest League is in its 59th season):

— Hops third baseman Randy McCurry had 10 assists, tying the NWL record for single-game assists by a third-sacker. (Tim Doerr of Seattle had 10 in one game vs. Lewiston on August 7, 1974.)

— Vancouver first baseman Jordan Leyland broke the Northwest League record for putouts in a game by a first baseman, with 22 (11 in the final seven innings). The previous record was 20, set by Henry Robinson of Walla Walla in 1972 (length of game unknown), and equaled by Manelik Pimentel of Everett in 2007 (in a 12-inning game) and Ryan Rua of Spokane in 2012 (in an 11-inning game).  Hops first baseman George Roberts might have broken the league record himself, had he not been removed for a pinch-runner in the bottom of the 11th. Roberts recorded 15 putouts in 11 innings, and his replacement, Ryan Kinsella, had nine in eight innings. (One of Kinsella’s putouts was a game-saving pick in the top of the 17th.) UPDATE: Leyland actually had 23 putouts — I had missed a putout on a strikeout where the catcher needed to throw to first.

— The previous Northwest League record for assists in a game by one team was 24, set by Vancouver against Eugene in a 13-inning game on July 18, 2011. Vancouver broke their own record by recording their 25th assist in the bottom of the 17th inning. They recorded two more in the bottom of the 18th inning, finishing with 27. Unfortunately, the record would be short-lived — Hillsboro recorded its 27th and 28th assists on the 6-4-3 double play that ended the top of the 19th inning. UPDATE: BOTH teams ended up with the new league-record 28 assists each — on the aforementioned strikeout-with-a-throw-out-at-first, Vancouver collected one more assist than I had given them credit for.

— Both teams broke the 53-year-old league record for at-bats in a single game. The previous record was 57, set by Lewiston against Salem on Sept. 2, 1960. Hillsboro had 66 at-bats, Vancouver 61. UPDATE: My bad. The old record was for a nine-inning game. This record was not broken.

Other remarkable notes:

— There were 508 pitches thrown in the game — 246 by the Canadians, and 262 by the Hops.

— Since there have been only 24 games in the history of the Hillsboro Hops, yesterday’s game was of course the longest the club has played, in terms of both time (5:28) and innings (19). But how rare was yesterday? Since moving from Medford to Vancouver for the 2000 season, the Canadians have played 1,011 games. And yesterday’s game was the longest — in both time and innings — in their franchise history. The longest previous game for Vancouver was a 15-inning contest in 2001. Besides the 19-inning and 15-inning games, Vancouver has played 12 games of either 13 or 14 innings in their 14-years in Vancouver. Since 2004, Vancouver is 2-7 in games that last longer than 12 innings.

— UPDATE: Hillsboro Hops owner Mike McMurray has passed along that the 19-inning game matches the Yakima franchise record, set in a game during the early 1990s.

— Canadians first baseman Jordan Leyland entered the game with a 13-game hitting streak. He went 0-for-7 with a walk and struck out three times.

— Before yesterday, Hillsboro catcher Grant Nelson had not had a single at-bat at Hillsboro Ballpark this season. A 9th-rounder in 2013, he is the highest-drafted position player from this year’s draft on the Hops roster, and entering yesterday had caught just four games and DH’d one, all on the road. Nelson made up for lost time yesterday, accumulating eight at-bats. He went 1-for-8 with an RBI and a run scored.

— Nelson had 22 putouts in the game, falling one shy of tying the NWL record for putouts in a game by a catcher. Dustin Garneau of Tri-City had 23 in a game on July 30, 2010.

— Vancouver pounded out 22 hits in their 16-4 win over Hillsboro in the previous game, on Saturday night. In Sunday’s 19-inning marathon, Vancouver had just seven hits—and hit the ball out of the infield only eight times. Vancouver’s batters struck out 21 times, three shy of the league single-game record.

— The Hops’ pitching staff entered Saturday’s game second in the league in ERA at 3.21, but fell to fifth at 3.75 after allowing 15 earned runs in the 16-4 loss. After allowing only three earned runs in 19 innings yesterday, Hillsboro has climbed back to second in the NWL at 3.54.

— Ryan Gebhardt’s hitting streak ended at six games, as he went 0-for-7 with a sacrifice bunt and the game-winning sacrifice foul fly.

Summary of new Northwest League records set or tied yesterday (the Northwest League, in existence since 1955, is in its 59th season):

NWL records broken:

Most assists, team, single game (TIE): 28, Hillsboro Hops; and 28, Vancouver Canadians
Most putouts by a first baseman, single game: 23, Jordan Leyland, Vancouver Canadians

NWL records tied:

Most assists by a third baseman, single game: 10, Randy McCurry, Hillsboro Hops

And finally, my favorite note from the entire day:

Hops outfielders recorded only two putouts in the 19 innings, both by center fielder Taylor Ratliff. Left fielder Jordan Parr fielded four Vancouver base hits, and Ratliff fielded two (their only other hit was a bunt single). Hops right fielder Zach Esquerra never touched the ball in 19 innings.

For more, see the box score.


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