Horizon baseball squad secures district playoffs

Hawks wrap up league with wins

Horizon Christian’s doubleheader baseball sweep Saturday against visiting Irrigon featured timely hitting, clutch pitching, small ball, long ball and web gems. It also included seven Hawk errors in the opening game and a number of baserunning miscues throughout both contests.

The end result for Horizon was two league wins, which clinched a spot for the Hawks in next week’s district playoffs.

Horizon used a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind to win a wild opener, 11-10. In the second game, right-hander Jake Wells threw a four-hitter and Mitch Engel homered twice during the Hawks’ 12-3 victory at Collins Field.

Horizon has non-league games Tuesday (vs. Umatilla) and Wednesday (at Hood River Valley freshmen) before completing its regular season on the road Friday at Heppner. A sweep Friday, and the right combination of wins and losses among the other Distirct 6 teams, could move Horizon from fourth to second place in the final standings.

Horizon led 5-0 after one inning of the first game, and 7-1 after two. But the Hawks’ bats fell silent and its defense fell apart, enabling the Knights to take a 10-8 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth. Wells delivered a two-RBI single to tie the game and in the seventh, Jeff Wilkins squeezed home Micah Engel from third for the winning run.

Max Totaro earned the pitching win with two shutout innings of relief. The third baseman made a number of defensive gems in the second game, including a great catch of a sinking line drive. An inning later he made a diving stab of a hard-hit ground ball to his left, scrambled to his feet and threw out the baserunner by a step.

Engel led Horizon’s 16-hit attack in the second game, with two home runs. Brother Micah and Sam Anthony added three hits apiece in that game.

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