Hawks drop two in Heppner doubleheader

Heppner took advantage of walks and Horizon errors to sweep the Hawks 8-3 and 12-5 in a District 6 baseball doubleheader Saturday at Kramer Field in The Dalles.

Horizon (2-4 overall, 0-2 league) outhit the Mustangs in both games, but that wasn’t enough to make up for 18 free passes issued by Hawk pitchers and six errors in each contest.

“Offensively we played well enough to be competitive, but we can’t allow that many walks if we want to win in this league,” coach Joe Petshow said. “You add our errors to that and that’s a pretty tough thing to overcome, no matter how well we hit the ball.“

The coach was quick to point out that three of the five Hawk pitchers had never thrown in a varsity league game before Saturday, and none of the five had ever started a league contest.

“Trial by fire, I suppose. If they stick with it, and continue to improve, good things will happen for this team,” Petshow said.

The coach said the Hawks had chances to break things open in each game, but left runners in scoring position in nine of the 14 innings.

“The first four in the lineup are producing like they should, but we need more offensive output from the bottom of the order,” Petshow said.

In Saturday’s first game, Ian Rasmussen singled and scored to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead, but Heppner struck back for four runs — with two out — in the top of the second. Three walks and two errors contributed to the Mustangs’ cause.

Kameron Brown and Kirby Carter each singled and scored for Horizon, as the Hawks hung close at 5-3 through five innings. Heppner put the game out of reach by taking advantage of four more walks and two errors over the final two frames.

RJ Hicks and Wes Johnston each had a double for Horizon, which left nine runners on base in scoring position in the first contest.

Horizon outhit Heppner in the second game, 10-8, but the Hawks also allowed five unearned runs. Heppner’s four-run first inning came via four hits, including a two-RBI double by winning pitcher JC Putnam. The Mustangs scored three runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings on two hits.

Horizon’s 1-2 hitters, Micah Engel and Rasmussen, scored all their teams’ runs. Engel had two doubles and scored three times, while Rasmussen had a double and single, two RBI and scored twice. Hicks was 2 for 3 — bumping his season average to .400 — and Johnston added a couple of singles for Horizon.

Horizon headed into league play coming off a 7-4 non-league win April 2 against the Hood River Valley freshmen. A non-league game Friday against Salem Academy was rained out.

The Hawks were scheduled to host Dufur in a league game Tuesday. Hood River Valley’s freshmen come across town for a non-league contest Thursday at Collins Field. Then Horizon returns to league action Saturday with a doubleheader at defending district champion Weston-McEwen in Athena.

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