By Jeremy McDonald
ST. PAUL, Ore.—The rain wasn’t nearly the headache as the wind was when Vernonia and St. Paul met Saturday afternoon to wrap up their three-game 2A/1A Speical District 1 series.
The gusty winds tore through the field on this day, making it feel like the game was along the Gorge or the coast. But through the breezy conditions, the Buckaroo defense managed to field the ball with ease with Lance Tuck at the bump for them pitching.
“There was a bunch of stuff going on against us but the defense did great behind me and I’m glad we could get it done,” Tuck said. “(The defense) made some great plays that we built off of and then get on the bats and get at them.”
Vernonia struck first in the bottom of the first inning as the home team at St. Paul High School, but then St. Paul wheeled off five of the next six runs over the second, third and fourth innings. Building a sound 5-2 lead on the Loggers going into the fifth inning.
Vernonia settled in however defensively, holding the Bucks scoreless in the fifth and sixth. Setting up a gut-check bottom of the sixth inning that screamed danger.
The Loggers scored once thanks to three singles to start the inning, but thanks to a 8-1 double play that followed Shayne Lardy’s RBI Single settled St. Paul back down. The Buckaroos held Vernonia to that one run and responded with two more in the next half-inning, turning a close 5-3 game into a 7-3 lead.
Suede Haven drove in a run thanks to forcing an infield error and Tuck brought George Pholschneider home three batters later to help build the cushion going into the final half-inning of the 7-3 St. Paul victory.
“It was great for us to get going. We were able to use the success off our other players and we just kept building off of each other,” Tuck said.
Tuck struck out ten in a complete game effort while driving in 2RBI’s. Haven and Clancy Koch each contributed 2RBI’s apiece. Koch had the lone multi-hit game with two hits with St. Paul improving to 12-0 on the season and 9-0 in league play entering their series with Nestucca this upcoming week.
The series opens Tuesday when the Bobcats travel to St. Paul for a 4pm game.
Photos by Jeremy McDonald