HRV baseball splits with Bend, will play Pendleton in league opener

Hood River Valley High School varsity baseball traveled to Bend this weekend for a doubleheader against the 5A Intermountain Conference Lava Bears. In the opening game, the Eagles fell behind 3-1 in the second inning but chipped away with a total of 12 hits in seven innings to finish with a 9-3 win. The second game went the way of the Bears, who capitalized on four HRV errors to finish with a 3-2 win despite being outhit by their opponent.

In the opening inning of the doubleheader, HRV got off to a hot start with Luke Kopecky driving the first pitch of the game into center field for the first of his four hits in the game. He was driven in by a Kyle Beam double to put the Eagles up 1-0. Ryan Ward took the mound for the Eagles, and after a scoreless first inning, allowed three runs in the second on three hits and two walks. He then settled into his rhythm and retired the next 10 of 11 batters to keep the Bears scoreless over the next five innings.

Beam, who tallied four RBI in the game, evened the score in his second at bat with a 400-foot two-run homer that ignited an HRV offense that would go on to score one more run in the fifth, four in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Kellan Duffy contributed with a pair of doubles while Nick Weekly and Koepecky were credited with two RBI apiece. Ward got the win and extended his perfect record on the season to 4-0, while Alix Jimenez closed out the final two innings in relief.

An improved Bend defense in the second game played a key role in a 3-2 loss in which HRV outhit the Bears nine to six. The Eagles built an early 2-0, again led by Beam who had a double and two singles in the game. As a whole, however, the team squandered several scoring opportunities with base running miscues while Bend’s defense played a solid game that forced the Eagles to strand six base runners and twice threw out runners at the plate.

Connor Olson took the mound for his first start of the season and is credited with a very solid effort that allowed four hits and one walk through the first six innings. Olson pitched out of several jams, but the usually reliable Hood River infield committed four errors in the game and the Bears were able to capitalize, scoring unearned runs in the 2nd and 4th innings to tie the game 2-2 going into the final inning.

In the top of the 7th, the Eagles’ leadoff hitter reached first on a single, but was stranded there as the next three batters were retired. In the bottom of the inning the Lava Bears responded with a lead-off single of their own. They were able to execute the fundamentals by moving the runner to second base on a sacrifice bunt and, after an intentional walk, the next batter lined a single to center field for the walk-off win.

The Eagles played one final non-league game Tuesday, at home vs. Redmond, before starting league play April 13 with an away double-header at Pendleton.

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