After winning the opener 5-2 behind the strong right arm of Wes Conrad, the Wallowa/Imbler baseball Cats saw two late-inning rallies come to naught when they dropped the second outing 11-10 in eight innings against Union/Cove in Wallowa Friday.
It was the home opener for the local co-op team from two counties, and sunny, but what could have been a sweep fell short in the bottom of the extra eighth inning of the second encounter with the tying run on third base.
Wal/Imb rallied from four runs down in the sixth inning and again from three runs down in the seventh inning, but only could match Union/Coves 2-spot in the top of the eighth with a single run.
In the bottom of the eighth, trailing 11-9, Joe Griffin drove Garreth Murray home with a single and stole two bases only to have a third magical rally of the game fail to materialize when Conrad grounded out to the second baseman.
A two-out, four-run rally in the fifth inning equated to victory in the first game when, following a walk, Casey Robertson, Reed Graves, Kyle Johnson, and Kody Swift contributed consecutive run-scoring hits.
In that game, the Cats outhit the Bobcats 9-6 with Graves and Swift dishing out two hits apiece.
Conrads line score for that first-game win was eight strikeouts, three walks, six hits, and two earned runs.
In that cleanly played opener, only one error was made, and that by the visitors from Union/Cove.
Such was not the case in the second game, said coach Buck Fullerton, when two dropped fly balls and an error at third base at inopportune times led to big Bobcat rallies in the fifth and seventh innings.
Wal/Imb again led the hit parade, smacking 15 hits to the Bobcats 11, yet rallying from 6-2 and 9-6 deficits to twice tie the score was not enough to prevent a second-game loss.
Griffin pitched 7 innings in the second game before being relieved by Johnson who gave up two runs and absorbed the defeat.
For the Cats, Mike Pendarvis and Griffin contributed three hits each, while Conrad, Robertson, Graves, and Johnson contributed a pair of hits as well.
Conrad and Robertson blasted doubles in the second game.