Eagle teams looking for improvement against Hermiston

Both the Hood River softball and baseball teams came away from their Columbia River Conference league series against Pendleton with one win.

After a rough start in Pendleton, the Eagle softball team got back on track as the series went along. HRV lost the first game 9-2, lost the second 8-7 when it could not hold a seventh-inning lead, lost the first game of a doubleheader in Hood River Saturday 4-1 but then closed out the series with a 3-0 win in the second game.

“We needed to get that win for our confidence,” said HRV coach Erick Keller. “We went out and played solid defense, pitched well and got the win.”

The Eagles got all the runs in the fifth, thanks to a pair of Pendleton defensive miscues and a base hit by Megan Winans.

Pitcher Kayla Byers kept Pendleton in check throughout the game, and got help from her defensive whenever she got into trouble.

Pendleton appeared ready to grab the lead in the fourth inning when Jory Spencer tripled with one out. Rayne Spencer followed with a screaming line drive at third base, but HRV third baseman Logan Bailey was able to grab it and then tag Jory Spencer for the unassisted double play to end the threat.

Byers had also left a Pendleton runner stranded at third in the second when she struck out the final two hitters of the inning to leave Pendleton runners at the corners.

After Spencer’s triple in the fourth, Byers allowed only one hit the rest of the way, a double with two outs in the seventh when the game was already out of reach.

“We just needed to know we could win,” Keller said. “We can still win this league if we play quality softball.”

Pendleton leads the league after the opening series of league play at 3-1, The Dalles-Wahtonka and Hermiston split their series and are both 2-2 while HRV is 1-3. Pendleton is No. 4 in the state rankings, TDW is No. 3, Hermiston is No. 2 and HRV is No. 11

The Eagles were hosting Hermiston Tuesday, travel to Hermiston for a doubleheader Saturday and then wrap up their series with the Bulldogs next Tuesday in Hood River.

While the Eagle softball team recovered from an early rout to win its series finale, the HRV boys baseball team was going in the opposite direction.

The Eagles won their opener at Pendleton 9-7 and lost their second game 4-2 in a rain-shortened contest. Then they returned to Hood River and everything fell apart.

Pendleton clobbered HRV 11-1 in the first game, and then managed an even larger margin of victory in the second with a 16-1 blowout.

“We just kind of looked like we were out to lunch,” said HRV coach Eric Harjo.

Pendleton never let HRV get into the first game, hitting Gabi Nuño for three runs in the first on a double by Lathan Alger and a single by Grant Klopmeyer.

The Eagles got one back in the bottom of the inning, but Pendleton kept scoring, with one in the second, five in the third and two more in the fifth to win via the 10 run rule when the Eagles could not get a run in the bottom of the inning.

Pendleton again scored three in the first in the second game, and the Eagles again answered with one in the bottom of the inning, but the same story then repeated itself in even uglier fashion for HRV.

The Bucks scored four in the second, three in the third and six in the fourth to get another five-inning win.

“We didn’t show up like a top-five team,” Harjo said. Pendleton showed up ready and we did not.”

Despite the ugly losses, HRV kept its place in the top five of the state’s power rankings, finishing the weekend at No. 4. Pendleton is No. 2, The Dalles-Wahtonka No. 16 and Hermiston No. 22.

After the opening series, Pendleton and TDW are both 3-1 while HRV and Hermiston are 1-3.

“We’ve just got to accept we got our tails kicked,” Harjo said. “The teams that overcome that thrive, and if we don’t start climbing right now we are looking at some bad scenarios.”

n The Horizon Hawks are trying to inch their way back up the 3A/2A/1A Special District 6 standings after an 0-3 start. The Hawks improved their record to 2-5 with a doubleheader split with Pilot Rock over the weekend, moving them into sixth place. The top five teams qualify for next month’s district playoffs.

Horizon won Saturday’s opener 4-2, but fell behind early in the second game and lost, 3-2. Back-to-back solo home runs by Sam Anthony and Micah Engel in the top of the seventh inning propelled the Hawks to their win. Engel knocked in two of Horizon’s runs and was 3 for 4 at the plate. Anthony was 2 for 3 with two runs scored, and centerfielder Jeff Wilkins was 2 for 4.

“Micah has been working hard — taking extra cuts at practice — to get out of a mini-hitting slump; it was nice to see him go to the plate with confidence and have some success,” coach Joe Petshow said.

Anthony earned the pitching win in the opener, allowing four hits and striking out nine in seven innings of work.

“Sam was pretty much in control the entire way,” Petshow said. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but even at that, he’s a tough matchup for any team at this level.”

In the second game, the Hawks trailed 3-0 after the first inning, when Pilot Rock took advantage of a couple of hits and two Horizon errors. Starting pitcher Jake Wells and his teammates settled down and allowed just two more hits over the next three innings. Mitch Engel came on in relief in the fifth and threw three hitless innings.

Horizon has lost its five league games by a combined total of eight runs — three two-run losses and two one-run losses.

The Hawks travel to Moro for a Friday doubleheader against Sherman County.

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