By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– March Madness has made its debut on the baseball diamond as one team’s nightmarish start turned into a heartbreaking defeat for the other.
It first started when Central built themselves a 6-1 lead going into the second inning. The Panthers being patient at the plate as the Eagles surrendered four bases loaded walks. Add in there two hits by Isiah Sanchez, the later hit going for two runs, along with a Seth White hit and it was a whole bunch of ‘What is going on?’ To start this one at Volcanoes Stadium.
And though a throw-out at home ended the threat, there was a whole bunch of game left as Ty Borde took over the mound duties for the Eagles going into the second inning.
“I just wanted to throw a lot of strikes and let my teammates do the work in the field,” Borde said. “I was just really focused on getting in the zone. But once again, my teammates did a great job backing me up.
“When I came up hitting, I just wanted to focus on situational hitting to get my teammates in. they set me up for success on defense and offense.”
Bode had a sacrifice bunt that drove in a run in the third that had then brought Stayton back to within three of the Panthers. Down 6-3 to the Mid-Willamette Conference team.
Every inning, Central’s lead slowly diminished. The young squad had quality at-bats in the contest, even loading up the bases in the bottom of the third inning in an attempt to add-on to their lead; but the Panthers weren’t able to add to their lead with the Eagles coming back on them.
“I thought all night we put together quality at-bats. Fighting…it would’ve been nice to add on the last few innings at least one or two (runs),” starts Central Head Coach Tom Roberts. “We had bases loaded at one point.
“We’re going to learn from this. We call it the ‘redzone’ when we got runners in scoring position with less than two outs and we got to score there in those situations. That’s what it comes down to.”
It’s the little things that allowed Stayton to hang around, and it came to frutition in the fourth inning. And what started as the nightmare for the Eagles, had turned into the worse case scenario for the Panthers.
A few mental lapses had allowed Stayton to tie and eventually take the lead off of an Joey Cole error that scored Connor Hollenbeck from third base. Giving the Eagles a 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning.
Up against the time limit and Hollenbeck in for relief of Borde, the Eagles shut down the threat to complete the comeback with Stayton playing Estacada Saturday at 4:30pm with the hopes to build some momentum entering Monday’s game with Newport.
Hollenbeck went 3-for-3 with 2RBI’s and a strikeout in the win. Borde finished with four in two-and-a-third innings for the Eagles.
Evan Beaver, who pitched three-and-a-third, struck out five for Central as Sanchez went 2-for-3 with 2RBI’s as the Panthers have the morning game when they play Gresham at 11:30am at Volcanoes Stadium.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald