LEWISTON, Idaho - The Eagles found a pitcher.
Joseph High School's baseball team, short-staffed on the mound during this season's first weekend of action, stumbled across a new pitcher in junior Forrest Watson. His strength? Simple: "Just throw strikes," the right-hander said.
Watson debuted March 20 in the second inning of a rough game at Clearwater Park in Lewiston, Idaho. Moving over from second base, with Potlatch already ahead by the score of 18-0, Watson was the Eagles' third pitcher of the game, their seventh in two days. His lifetime experience on the mound amounted to a single practice earlier that week. But Joseph proudly rallied behind this unexpected stopper. Why? He livened the pace of the game, attacked the hitters and used the fielders around him. In between innings, coach Tony Gross taught him how to throw a changeup and then a curveball.
Later, in another lopsided loss to Potlatch - Joseph's fourth setback in a row over the weekend - the Eagles called on Watson again. He wound up pitching four innings during the doubleheader. He surrendered no bases on balls.
"He threw pop-ups and grounders, just what we wanted," Gross said. "The biggest thing was his confidence."
While Watson made a silver lining around the mound, junior Trent Martin powered the batting lineup. He hit two home runs over the weekend. His first homer happened March 19 during a doubleheader at Orofino. He helped Joseph keep pace with the home team in the second game. Until the last inning, the score was tied. Martin had four hits, senior Ty Edison had three, junior J.R. Masters three, junior Chaunce Galletly two and Watson added two singles. Senior Wade Morton, junior Nathan Lund and junior Ian Lara each chipped in a hit.
The following day, against Potlatch, Martin teed off another home run: a blast to left-center field in the first inning. He tied the score at 1-1, but Potlatch owned the rest of the game. However, in the third inning, the Eagles enjoyed another debut. Freshman Blake Sherod with his first swing of the bat, doubled to right field.
Joseph will return to action April 3, when it travels to Union.