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Hawk baseball ends on high note

The final high school pitching performance by Horizon Christian School’s Jake Wells on Saturday turned out to be his best.

Wells, one of two seniors on the Horizon roster, tossed a one-hitter in a 3-1 win at Irrigon in the Hawks’ season finale. Wells also had two hits, scored a run and knocked in another on a 90-degree day in Eastern Oregon.

The win enabled Horizon to salvage a doubleheader split with playoff-bound Irrigon, which won the first game, 11-2.

Wells, who will play basketball next year at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, struck out 10 and walked four. The 6-foot-7 right-hander took a shutout into the seventh inning, when Irrigon scored its only run after two walks, a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch.

“Jake got in a little trouble early and late because of control problems, but during the second through sixth innings, he pitched to the minimum number of batters,” Coach Joe Petshow said. “It was a great way to cap his high school baseball career.

“Honestly, Jake has pitched well his past four starts. We just didn’t get him the offensive and defensive support he needed in a couple of those games.”

Wells didn’t need a lot of offense on Saturday, and that was a good thing considering the Hawks were facing Irrigon’s ace, Francisco Nunez. The senior righty was an all-league player as a sophomore, but couldn’t pitch most of last season because of an elbow injury.

The Hawks took advantage of their few opportunities, taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Wells doubled down the first-base line, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Kirby Carter’s single up the middle.

Horizon went ahead 3-0 in the sixth. Micah Engel walked, and then went to third on Ian Rasmussen’s bunt. Rasmussen pushed the ball down the first-base line and reached base when Nunez lost his grip on the ball trying to make a diving tag. Engel rounded third on the play and raced home after the ball squirted away toward the Irrigon dugout. Irrigon catcher Leon Luna had the plate blocked, but couldn’t handle the ensuing throw, which was a little wide toward third base. Rasmussen went to second on the play and scored on Wells’ single.

Horizon outhit Irrigon in the opener, 7-6, but the host team took advantage of 13 walks, and four hit batsmen. Amar Mann and Brent Smith led the Hawk offense in game one with two hits apiece.

Horizon finished in a tie for sixth place in 2A-1A District 6 with a 3-11 record and was 7-16 overall.

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