|6/3/2014 1:13:00 PM|
Outlaws advance to state semi-finals
The Outlaws squeaked out a 3-2 win over Mazama in the first round of the state playoffs at home in Sisters on Wednesday, May 28, and two days later, beat Newport at home 8-3 in the quarterfinals. The Outlaws advance to the state semi-finals and were to face North Marion at home on Tuesday, June 3.
|Freshman pinch-hitter Ryan Cook drives the winning run for a 3-2 victory over Mazama. photo by Jerry Baldock|
On Wednesday, Sisters scored their three runs on seven hits and three errors. The Vikings scored two runs on three hits and zero errors. Joey Morgan went the distance on the mound for the Outlaws and recorded the win. Morgan had nine strikeouts in the contest.
"Joey really competed today," said Coach Steve Hodges. "We knew it would be a close game, and low scoring, and Joey really battled in that last inning. His senior leadership and experience came through today. He really had his curve-ball and fast-ball going today."
Sisters got Mazama out one-two-three in the top of the first inning. Jardon Weems hit a line-drive-single down the first base line to score Justin Harrer, and put Sisters up 1-0 at the close of the inning.
The Outlaws held the Vikings scoreless for the next two innings. In the bottom of the third, Harrer stole home and Sisters went up 2-0, but Mazama came back in the fifth and tied it up 2-2.
In the top of the sixth, Sisters threw Mazama's lead-off batter out at first, and Morgan struck out the next two batters to retire the side.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Olivier got on base via a walk, and stole second. Freshman Ryan Cook came in to pinch hit, and became the Outlaws' hero of the day, when he drove the ball to center field to score Olivier, and regain the lead for the Outlaws.
Cook said, "It was just an awesome feeling knowing that I'd helped out my team in a playoff situation."
Hodges said, "Ryan did great. I'm so proud of the young man going into that situation, and having success. It was wonderful for him to have the game-winning hit like that. It gave him confidence, and it's something he'll never forget."
The Outlaws held off the Vikings in the top of the seventh, and recorded the win.
Two days later, Sisters played at home against Newport in the quarterfinals of the OSAA State Baseball Championships. The Outlaws knew that the Cubs, who have reached the semifinals five out of the past seven years, would be a tough opponent.
Hodges said, "I knew we would need to limit our base-on-balls. They have a good line-up with good contact, and I knew if we added free base-runners to that it would be difficult."
Newport's bus broke down on their way over; luckily they were able to borrow a bus from Sweet Home and make it over the hill. After teams finally warmed up the game started almost 40 minutes late, under dark and ominous skies.
The Cubs got on the scoreboard with a run in the first inning, but the Outlaws came out swinging, and brought in four runs to take a 4-0 lead. Cody Kreminski's two-RBI single to centerfield highlighted the offensive effort.
Just as the second inning was to get underway, lightning struck and thunder roared. Officials asked players to head to their dugouts, and spectators were asked to go to their cars.
Hodges said, "The hardest part of the delay is that you just got your pitcher warmed up, and competing at his highest level, and you know you'll have to go back and start all over. A lot of times a pitcher will lose their control."
The delay didn't seem to affect Harrer. After a 45-minute delay, Justin came out, and retired the side one-two-three.
Newport walked Sisters' first three batters, and Joey Morgan followed with a great hit that bounced over the left field fence for a two-RBI ground-rule double. At the close of the second inning, the Outlaws held a 6-1 lead.
Newport drove in two runs in the third to close the gap to 6-3.
With the bases loaded, Funk drew a walk to bring in another run for the Outlaws and put them on top 7-3.
Morgan scored on a throwing error in the fifth for Sisters' final run. The Outlaws held the Cubs at bay, and went on to record the win.
Morgan said, "This is just awesome. It was a big sign of relief to get that final out. I'm super-stoked to be going back to the semis for the second straight year."
Justin Harrer pitched a complete game for the Outlaws. Harrer tallied five strike-outs, and only walked one batter.
Harrer said, "Going into the game my emotions varied from excitement to nervousness, but as I stepped over the chalk line onto the field those emotions faded away. I knew my team had my back, and I knew it was my job to have theirs. Pitching a complete game to win the quarterfinals was amazing to say the least, but baseball is a team sport, and we played together to get the win."
Hodges was extremely pleased with Harrer's pitching performance.
"Justin did such a great job for us today," said Hodges. "He was so competitive. His fast-ball got stronger in the sixth and seventh innings, which shows how much he wanted to pitch his team to victory. He competed so hard."
Hodges added, "Newport out-hit us, but we still won the game by five runs. The difference was the walks. We had one and they had 10. That statistic just proves how important it is not to give free passes."
The Outlaws left 12 runners stranded on base, and Hodges told The Nugget that fact was very frustrating.
"We're just not capitalizing on our opportunities," said Hodges. "Many times we only have one out, and we can't seem to make contact, and get even a fly-out, which would score a run. Those extra runs in the playoffs are such a huge factor. We have to be more aggressive at the plate with runners on base, and capitalize on the opportunities we're given."
The Outlaws were to play at home against No. 4 North Marion on Tuesday, June 3.
Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014
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Great job Outlaws! Now win state!!!
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