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Goin powers HRV to first league win

“Huge.”

That’s how HRV sophomore pitcher Heath Goin summed up the Eagles’ 6-4 home win over Gresham Monday in the first Mt. Hood Conference contest for both teams.

“We haven’t got a league win in two years, and we’re glad to get this one out of the way so early,” he said.

With one little game, all the worries melted away.

“At this moment, guys, we’re in first place,” coach Gerry Flink told his players after the game. “You earned this win and don’t let anyone take that away from you. Now that this monkey is off our back, we can just focus on playing baseball.”

Behind Goin’s rock-solid six innings on the mound (1 ER, 6 H, 8 K, 1 BB), the Eagles stayed relaxed and played one of their more complete games of the young season.

The bats came alive (seven hits), the defense was sound (despite three errors), and the chatter around the dugout was zippy. But it was the pitching that told the story Monday.

“I feel great about my outing,” said Goin, who gave way to Jon Winnett in the seventh. “The errors are going to happen and I’m not going to worry about them. I just want to help the team win games.”

Winnett, normally a starter, gave up one run in his stint on the mound, but responded well under the pressure, getting two big outs with runners on base to nail down the victory.

“I had a little control problem early, but I eventually found the zone,” he said.

Winnett will pitch Friday at home versus Centennial, while Danny Gilkerson — one of Monday’s offensive stars —will get the nod today against David Douglas.

Gilkerson contributed to both Eagle rallys in the fifth and sixth innings with a basehit and a run in each.

His no-out shot up the middle in the fifth ignited the offense and led to a quick 2-0 lead after a squeeze bunt by Jon Wall and an RBI by Winnett.

Goin became rattled in the sixth after putting the first two batters on base. The defense also missed some critical chances, which allowed Gresham to take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of six.

But the resilient Eagles kept the late-inning surge alive, registering four runs on three hits in the inning to reclaim the lead at 6-3.

Jarrod Fogle picked up two RBIs and Lorin Herman one to help put the Eagles ahead to stay.

“Fogle really stepped up for us,” Flink said. “After sitting for six innings, it can be difficult for a player to find his rhythm. But he always comes ready to play.”

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