After giving up 18 runs to Reynolds on Tuesday and 11 more to Forest Grove on Wednesday, the Hood River Valley baseball team needed a breakout pitching performance on Thursday at The Dalles.
So, naturally, they called on their ace. Junior standout Heath Goin started his first game of the season against the 3A state champs and absolutely befuddled the Indians’ hitters, leading the Eagles (1-1) to a 12-2 win.
“He had them completely baffled,” HRV coach Gerry Flink said of Goin, who went five innings and gave up just five hits to go with seven strikeouts and no walks. “The defense made some great plays behind him, and the bats really came alive as well.”
Senior third baseman Ryan Pratt hit his second three-run homer in three games, and added another RBI to lead a balanced HRV hitting attack, which produced 10 hits.
Senior infielder Jarrod Fogle added two RBI’s, while juniors Kyle Maurer and Danny Newton each had one in a game that was all HRV from the second inning on.
“We just took it to ‘em,” Flink said. “It was a complete reversal of the previous two days, and if we can do the little things like this every game, we’re going to be very successful.”
The Eagles’ best offensive inning came in the second, when they produced six runs — nearly all of them manufactured.
First baseman Bryan Nishimoto led off with a walk and was followed by catcher Cam Lucas, who had a double. Newton stepped in with a sacrifice fly to score Nishimoto before Maurer singled to put runners on first and third. Fogle then slapped a double down the line to score two more. That’s when Pratt stepped in and delivered the three-run bomb to put HRV up 6-0.
“We have the capabilities to put lots of runs on the board this year,” Flink said. “It was important for us to have a game like this early on because our guys are starting to believe in themselves more.”
Flink explained that it was also a boost for his team to beat The Dalles because most of the kids have been competing against one another since little league.
“This was a big win for a number of reasons,” Flink said. “Most of all, I know it felt good for our guys to go in there and whoop up on the kids they’ve been playing against for so long.”
Tuesday’s season opener against the 2002 Mt. Hood Conference champs, Reynolds, was not the note the Eagles had hoped to start on. A 12-run second inning, which included four errors, set the tone for a 18-8 loss.
Pratt’s three-run homer was the offensive highlight on the day, but junior shortstop Pete Dills also added two RBI’s to give the Eagles a lift heading into Wednesday’s home contest with Forest Grove.
The Vikings were ahead 11-4 after four-and-one-third innings, but the game was called due to rain, and remained unofficial.
Thus, Goin’s three-run blast in the second inning will not count in the season stats. HRV is in Arizona for Spring Break and will return home April 4 against Gladstone.