News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Outdueled Outlaws hold their heads high

Sisters Varsity Baseball's playoff run ended on Friday with a 4-1 quarterfinals loss at Pleasant Hill.

Senior Brody Fischer and junior Landen Scott hit first-inning singles but the Outlaw offense floundered, unable to convert scoring chances.

The Pleasant Hill Billies scored first, in the third inning, and Sisters answered in the fourth. Justin deSmet hit a grounder, reached first on an error, and brought in Fischer to tie it 1-1.

Then the wheels fell off.

Sisters starter Sebastian Storch, a sophomore who had thrown 75 pitches, two-thirds of them strikes, walked a batter in the fifth. Head Coach Matt Hilgers called Scott to the mound. He struck out a batter, then hit the next two. With the bases loaded, Hilgers changed pitchers again. Trent Gordon induced a fielder's choice. His defense tried to turn a double play. The throw to first bounced past the first baseman. Two runs scored. A Billies single made it 4-1.

Storch took the loss, and took it hard. He and Scott had wanted to win it for team leaders like catcher Austin Dean.

"I felt really bad because this was his senior year, and he'd played varsity since freshman year," said Storch.

Assistant Coach Steve Hodges lifted Storch's spirits.

"If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have been in it at all. You kept us in this game," he said.

What happened next was a great display of character: Storch, Scott, and Dean walked to the Billies' dugout to congratulate them.

"I could hear them: 'You guys are a really good team.' 'Great battle.' 'I hope you guys go all the way and win State.' It was a classy move," said Storch's father, Tyson.

"I said congrats to their lead-off hitter, assistant coach, starting pitcher, and then I remembered seeing their two-hole (second batter in the lineup) earlier in the year. He had hurt his knee. I told him, 'I've had that happen. Get well soon. Hopefully you can play in the Semis,'" Sebastian Storch said.

The gesture touched the injured player's family.

"After the game, this dad pulled up to me. I had on my Outlaws gear. He rolled down his window and said, 'Your team has some really class athletes. A few of your boys came into our dugout and congratulated our boys,'" Tyson recalled. "His boy had gotten hurt in the previous game, and he said, 'Your boys comforted him today. You'll be back at it next year.'

"I wish we would have won, but that almost made up for the loss," Tyson added.

"Looking back at where we were, skill-wise, when we started the year to where we ended, we made huge growths," said Hilgers. "I really attribute a great amount to our seniors for having the ability to continue to improve."

Dean's improvement is bringing him to the next level.

"I looked at my phone after the game and saw two missed calls and a text from the head coach at Blue Mountain Community College, asking me to join their team."

He committed on Saturday morning.

"They did really well in the NWAC, so it's an exciting opportunity," said Dean's mother, Amber.

"A huge thanks to our parents and even more so to the community that supported us throughout the season, both through sponsorship and cheering us on," Hilgers said. "Even though we didn't end up with the results we were hoping for, it was a really great season. Another league title and a 21-8 record is something for these kids to be proud of."

On deck for Dean and Fischer this summer: SunWest AAA Legion Baseball, out of Redmond.

Fischer is considering Corban University and George Fox University, "leaning towards Fox."

Fellow graduating senior deSmet will attend George Fox, where he committed to play football.

Scott's summer will include 7-on-7 football practice, BOSS basketball, and Crush 18U Baseball.

Storch will play travel ball and attend summer baseball camp at his dream school, Notre Dame.

"I toured it a year ago with my godbrother, who got a 4.6 (GPA) and ended up going there and really enjoying it," he said. "That's my No. 1 school. I've just got to keep up the good grades."


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