While the Wallowa Valley/Elgin boys baseball team may not be called the Eagles these days, the combined Joseph, Enterprise, Wallowa and Elgin squad out of Special District 5 is certainly flying high after sporting a 4-1 start and an eighth ranking in Oregon’s 3A state classification, according to Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA). The squad went 2-1 over the weekend at the Grant Union Les Schwab tournament in John Day.
The boys faced off against Bandon on Thursday, March 28, racking up an impressive shutout, 5-0. Coach JR Collier wasn’t at the game, but he heard things went well. Coy Aschenbrenner chalked up the win for Wallowa Valley with sophomore Trace Evans getting the save in relief.
Wallowa Valley fell 3-0 to west side team Rainier on the following day. Coach Collier said the team had a hard time getting any offense going. Trace Evans pitched an outstanding game, but teammates weren’t producing with the bat. The coach added that Rainier threw a big pitcher with an overpowering fastball and a good curve.
“Even with the loss, giving up three runs is pretty good,” Collier said. “We didn’t do well offensively; we had a lot of baserunning errors. We only got one hit, but defensively, we had a strong showing.”
Collier said the team’s pitching impressed him with starting pitchers pitching the vast majority of games they started.
“It was a good pitching show by everybody,” he said. “We have pretty good consistency from that standpoint. Our pitching isn’t necessarily overpowering, but they’re getting opponents to hit the ball on the ground. We’re not striking a lot of hitters out, but we’re getting them out.”
Gus Ramsden pitched six innings in the final game against Neah-Kah-Nie on the following day. Collier mentioned that Ramsden is one of the few WV players contributing consistent offense. Luckily, the team’s other strengths are helping them win ball games.
“What we’re struggling on in batting, we’re making up in base running,” he said. We’re pretty aggressive and pretty good about getting on base. It’s super strong.”
While the infield is playing stellar defense, the outfield needs work, something Collier blames on the weather.
“We haven’t been outside for practice yet, so we’re having problems tracking the ball in the air a little bit. We’ll start practicing outside this week.”
Because the squad has better numbers than last year, it can muster up a JV squad. It managed to squeeze in an 8-6 victory in a five-inning game against Umpqua Valley Christian.
The team is now 4-1 on the season and ranked eighth in the state. They next play Burns/Crane on Friday, April 5.