When losses continue to multiply, as they have for the Hood River Valley baseball team the past three weeks, sometimes all a coach can do is shrug his shoulders.
Gerry Flink’s Eagles lost their eighth and ninth consecutive Intermountain Conference games to first-place Bend on Saturday by scores of 8-2 and 3-0.
And, besides trying a little extra body language, all Flink and the Eagles have left to do is attempt to break the losing skid in their final three outings.
“We played well enough to win both games, but we need to put more runs on the board,” said Flink, whose team will travel to Redmond on Friday (2), and finish up with Pendleton at home on May 20.
“It’s tough right now, but we have to keep plugging away. We should be able to compete with every team in this league, and besides a couple big innings here and there, we have,” he said.
HRV’s offense broke out of a slumber with 11 hits in game one, but came back with only four hits in game two.
Pitchers Jarrod Fogle, Cody Wickwire and Heath Goin were all effective, keeping the Lava Bears’ hitters in check. But Bend took advantage of HRV’s missed opportunities, scoring five runs off Eagle errors.
The HRV infield had been struggling the past five games, and although the team committed six errors on the day — two in game one, four in game two — they continued to play with heart.
“We made some terrific plays on defense, but as it turned out, all of our errors were costly,” Flink said. “And offensively, 11 hits isn’t bad. But we weren’t able to string any of them together.”
Sophomore Bryan Nishimoto was the hitting star in game one, going 4-4. But Lava Bears starter Devon Clason kept his composure throughout, and didn’t allow any HRV runs until the bottom of the seventh.
Game two was less eventful for the Eagle offense, which had just one multi-hit inning off of Kip Wilson. Jeremy Belcher and Ryan Pratt led off the fourth with back-to-back singles, but two strikeouts and a foul out halted the rally.
Bend scored one run in the fifth and two in the seventh to spoil a strong outing by Goin, the Eagles’ No. 1 starter.
Goin and the Eagles will try to break the losing skid on Friday at Redmond, and haven’t yet given up on the season.
“The coaches have to keep it fun,” Flink said, “and even though we’re struggling right now, we have been in nearly every IMC game.”
All told, HRV has lost only three games by 10 runs or more, and five games by five runs or less.