With a two-run lead and junior ace Heath Goin on the mound, the Hood River Valley baseball team looked to have game one of Saturday’s double header about wrapped up.
But HRV’s plans for a third league win were stifled by a pesky Mountain View lineup that got to Goin for three runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead.
The HRV bats provided little support for Goin in the bottom of the inning, and before they knew it, the Eagles were down to their final three outs.
“The bottom line right now is that we have to hit the ball,” coach Gerry Flink said of his team, which went on to lose game one, 3-2, and game two by a score of 11-1 (five innings).
“We’re only hitting .220 as a team in league, and we need to be around .250 or .260 if we’re going to win these close ballgames,” he said.
HRV (5-11, 2-3 IMC) recorded five hits in game one, but only two hits in game two, which isn’t the kind of support the Eagle pitchers will need as the team battles for one of four IMC playoff berths.
“Our staff isn’t doing bad at all,” Flink said of Goin, Jarrod Fogle and Ryan Pratt, who have a combined 3.71 earned-run average in league play.
“We just have to score five or six runs to give ourselves some margin for error. And when we commit six errors, like we did in game two, it makes the pitchers’ jobs that much harder,” he said.
Fogle started game two and went three-and-two-thirds innings before giving way to Pratt (1 IP, 3 hits, 3 ER) and Cody Wickwire (1-1/3 IP, 0 ER).
Meanwhile, Goin pitched all seven innings of game one, striking out eight and giving up six hits, while lowering his league ERA to a scant 2.00.
“I’m pretty happy with our team ERA,” Flink said. “That and our team defense have been the biggest positives so far. And if you take away the six errors in game two, we had played five solid defensive games in a row.”
Flink said the team appeared to have lost some of its concentration after the deflating game-one loss. He also worried that the team reverted to some “old habits” that had
apparently disappeared over the past three weeks.
“We’re still right in the thick of things,” Flink said. “Our job may be a little more difficult since we lost these two at home. But we’re going to battle. I believe in these guys.”
Fogle recorded the lone Eagle RBI in game one with a fourth-inning single to score shortstop Pete Dills, who led off the inning with a single. Fogle scored the other HRV run on an infield error.
HRV’s next test is a Saturday double-header at Crook County. The Eagles also played Pendleton on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time. See the May 3 edition for a complete wrap-up.