The Wallowa Valley/Elgin combined baseball team, had their storied season halted after suffering a second-round playoff loss, 7-1, at the hands of top-ranked Pleasant Hill on Friday, May 24.
The playoffs started well for WV/E, as they easily won their playoff opener versus the Horizon Christian Hawks in an 8-0 blowout on the Wednesday May 22.
Coach J.R. Collier said the WV/E team brought out its big guns for the shootout. The leadoff hitter, Gus Ramsden, opened the game with a home run. But it was all downhill for the Hawks thereafter.
Ready Steady Coy Aschenbrenner took mound duties for the squad and went the distance, fanning five while walking three and allowed the Hawks only three hits.
“He’s pitched well all year, but this was probably the best game we’ve seen him pitch all year,” Collier said.
The coach said the squad played excellent defense, robbing the Hawks of several hits. Collier particularly noted a diving stop from second baseman Kaden McClure that forced out a runner at second base
Flynn Nave led the bat squad, going 4 for 4 on the day with an RBI. “They were all line drive shots,” Collier said. “He really knocked them out there hard.” Christopher Nobles offered a 2 for plate performance with two RBIs and Aschenbrenner aided his cause with two RBIs of his own.
“The guys came out on fire, swinging the bat,” Collier said. “We were aggressive and played well on defense. It’s how you want your playoff game to go.”
Unfortunately, the high–powered offense didn’t show up for the battle against Pleasant Hill on Friday the 24th. WV-E lost the game 7-1 on the Hill’s turf.
“We just couldn’t put the ball in play,” Collier said. “Every time we hit it, it went right to them.”
David Salim laced the team’s lone hit in the seventh inning. WV-E scored its only run in the sixth when brothers Gus and Zeb Ramsden got base through a walk and a hit batsman respectively. Both runners advanced on a bobbled ball and Gus Ramsden scored on a passed ball.
WV/E garnered several walks, but couldn’t capitalize on the passes.
“We only had five strikeouts the whole game,” Collier said. “It wasn’t like their guy was just fanning us.”
Nave took the loss for WV/E, striking out two while walking seven and doling out four hits. Gus Ramsden came on in relief, pitching the final 1 2/3 innings. He tallied no strikeouts or walks and gave up a single hit.
“We had a pretty good season overall, especially considering some of the guys we lost from last year,” Collier said. “We made it to the second round of the playoffs two years in a row and been defeated by the top team in the state. There’s no shame in that.”