By Jeremy McDonald
CALDWELL, Idaho.– Baseball can be weird sometimes. Just as soon as you think it’s going your way, the game reminds you how tough it is.
Stayton entered Sunday’s Valley Burner tournament finale against the Regin with some good forward momentum coming off of their opening game against Ridge Friday afternoon and their strong win against the Lynden Lynx Saturday morning.
The Bandits squad tallied two outs out of their first four batters to start the Sunday afternoon game at Wolfe Field at the College of Idaho, but the game exposed things they could improve upon coming out of their 9-3 defeat to close out their third game of the season.
“It wasn’t really frustrated, we showed that we can play with them at the end there. We’re just knocking off the rust, it’s only our third game of the season. We’ll be ready for the next tournament for sure,” said Aaron Nease.
Regin took advantage of the opportunities given to them, walks that led to runs with timely hits over the two-opening innings over the four-inning time-limit contest, leading 9-0 entering the third inning.
Stayton settled in over the last two innings, Lupe Peralta struck out two of his three batters in the top of the third inning, putting the ball into play while allowing one hit over the final two innings. Giving his offense an opportunity to chip away at the deficit after coming in midway through the second-inning.
“Going into the middle of an inning with runner’s on base, just trying to get outs. We started off slow, but then we got the rhythm,” said Peralta, who’s going to be a Junior at Blanchet Catholic in the Fall. “So I think we’re going to look good, the next few weeks and improve. Be a solid team.”
Peralta pitched three innings in relief for Cascade’s Grayson Reeder. Reeder pitched an inning with two strikeouts in an starting effort against the good bats from Reign that produced five hits on the day.
The bats of the Bandits however, which produced 20 runs over the last two games that includes 17 from Saturday’s soaker against Lynden in Caldwell, were held to two hits Sunday. Both hits came in the fourth inning from Reeder and Jackson Nees, both were singles as the squad was able to make contact with the ball, but couldn’t find the gap as they had the game prior. An area of improvement pointed out Nease.
Drawing eight walks put them in positions to score with their three runs. Two coming in the third inning off a pick-off move at third, David Kanoff sac-fly, the third coming from a bases loaded walk from Bryce Campbell in the fourth inning.
The pitching they faced Sunday was better than what they faced Saturday, and they stepped up to the challenge they faced. It’s just now a matter of starting earlier than they did moving forward.
“We got to get going early, that’s our one problem and one thing we need to work on. Just getting the energy going,” said Nease. “It was nice, especially this game here. That’s a good team, we competed. It’s nice to know what we need to improve on. Batting. We need to see faster pitchers because we’re not use to this.”
Stayton couldn’t capitalize more on the bases loaded situation they were in during the fourth inning before the inning ended and the time-limit ending the game. The Bandits wrapped up their first tournament of the year 1-2 as they return back to Oregon and back to practice.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald