By DAVE LEDER
News staff writer
HOOD RIVER — Just when it appeared that the Hood River Valley baseball team had hit rock bottom, the Eagles put together their most complete game of the season in game two of a Saturday doubleheader with Mountain View.
After a profanity-laced tirade by senior Bryan Nishimoto forced the Eagles to forfeit game one, they came within two outs of winning their first game of the season in game two.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Peldyak staked the Eagles to a 4-1 lead through five innings, while Rob Kloster helped HRV maintain a three-run advantage with two outs to go in the seventh.
But a defensive miscue allowed the inning to continue, and the Cougars knotted the game at 4-4 before going on to win 10-4 in 11 innings.
“We had the game won if we had covered first base,” said coach Jeff Lahti, whose team fell to 0-9 overall (0-3 Intermountain Conference). “That gave Mountain View a chance, and they took advantage.”
The Cougars followed the oversight with a basehit, while the HRV defense committed two errors to keep the inning going. A single and a two-RBI double tied the score, but Lahti was still proud of his team’s resilience.
“Under the circumstances, I thought we played as well as we could have in game two,” said Lahti, who added that he had “no choice” but to dismiss Nishimoto from the team for the remainder of the season after his game-one altercation with an umpire.
“Jordan (Peldyak) pitched a heck of a game, and he has become our most reliable pitcher. Robby also did an awesome job, and I’m proud of these guys for playing through to the end.”
Lahti said that despite his team’s 0-9 record, the players are still showing him that they want to be out there. And with the bats coming around the way they have over the past three games (24 total hits), Lahti is hopeful that his Eagles can get over the hump before long.
“Mountain View is 3-0 in league and I honestly believe we could have won both games against them,” he said.
“There are some other teams we will face that we should be competitive with, as long as we get solid pitching and hit the ball like we have.”
HRV played one such team, Hermiston, on Tuesday (results NA), and will visit another in The Dalles-Wahtonka on April 19. On the schedule this Saturday is a road double-header against Bend.
“We’re not that far away from where we need to be,” Lahti said. “The bats are coming alive and we’re cutting down on our errors.”