How is the Hood River Valley pitching staff adjusting to life without its top pitcher from a year ago?
Just fine, thank you very much.
The Eagles turned a pair of strong pitching performances into wins against Gladstone and Reynolds.
On Saturday, Ty Bofferding scattered five hits over seven innings against Gladstone as HRV won 3-0.
On Monday Gabi Nuno held Reynolds scoreless for six innings and the Eagles won 4-2.
The two pitching gems helped avenge a rough outing for the entire team Friday, when Clackamas rallied from a 4-2 deficit to win 18-4.
On Saturday, Bofferding was brilliant. While the Eagle offense struggled with only four hits, and managed just one RBI as a team, the HRV junior baffled the Gladiators.
Bofferding struck out three, walked one and allowed only one runner to get as far as third base.
The Eagles got two of their runs in the third on a single by Cody Walker followed by a Gladstone error. They scored their other run in the fourth on a steal of home by Lucio Alaniz.
Nuno matched Bofferding with a performance nearly as good Monday against Reynolds.
Both teams struggled on offense, with Nuno forcing the Raiders to hit ground ball after ground ball - the majority of which were gobbled up by the Eagle infielders.
On the other side, Reynolds pitchers Luke Evans and Dru Martin kept the Eagles stifled until the fifth. HRV had threatened in the fourth, but Reynolds centerfielder Tom Albers made a diving grab of a Lucio Alaniz line drive to keep HRV off the board. In the fifth, the Eagles finally got a run across the hard way.
Bofferding led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Nuno then bunted, allowing Bofferding to reach third, while reaching safely himself on a fielding error on the pitcher. Cody Walker then grounded into a double play, allowing Bofferding to score from third.
Walker kept the Raiders from equalizing with a heads-up defensive play in the bottom of the inning. Brett Long reached on Nuno's first walk of the game. He reached second on a sacrifice bunt. When Scott Weidlich hit a sharp ground ball to the left of Walker, he took off for third. Walker quickly whirled and threw to Alaniz at third, and Alaniz got the tag down just in time for the out. The next hitter grounded to Alaniz to end the threat.
The Eagles got some insurance runs in the sixth.
The Eagles got singles by Beam, Ryan Colesar, Nick Weekly and Luke Kopecky in the bottom of the frame to plate a pair of runs. After Nuno walked, Walker then also drew a free pass with the bases loaded to force in a third run and chase Martin from the game.
Those runs would just barely hold up in the top of the seventh when Nuno gave up a run with two outs, before giving way to Alex Jimenez. Jimenez walked in a run before getting the final out for the save.