The high-flying Wallowa Valley/Elgin baseball team went 2-1 over the week with the Baker/Powder Valley team knocking the boys down a peg in an 18-0 non-league victory on Tuesday, May 7. Coach JR Collier said the coaching staff set up the contest against the much larger school to show the squad they weren’t invincible going into District play, coming up next week.
“It wasn’t a great showing,” Collier said. “Our pitchers had problems finding the plate. The team’s not going to be able to snooze going into these games now.”
On Friday, the squad made a complete turnaround, with a convincing 10-2 victory over the Nyssa Bulldogs on Friday, May 10. Mr. Consistent, Coy Aschenbrenner, baffled the Bulldogs with a sterling outing, striking out 10 and issuing not so much as a single walk while spreading four hits over the duration.
“He’s been real consistent,” Collier said. “He gets the ball in the zone, right where it needs to be and allows the defense to step up.”
The bat squad also hit consistently. David Salim and Aschenbrenner smote two base hits each while the other six hits were spread well among the roster.
“That’s over six innings since we never batted in the seventh,” Collier said. He added that the Bulldogs’ pitcher was inconsistent in the strike zone the first couple of innings but once he found his way to the plate, the WV/E squad hit him hard.
The second game saw sophomore ace, Flynn Nave pitching the duration, walking away with a 6-0 one-hit shutout. The hurler sent eight Bulldogs back to the dugout muttering while walking just two.
“It’s nice we can mix it up with the pitching and keep one in reserve,” Collier said, referring to the holy trio of Aschenbrenner, Nave and Trace Evans.
WV/E bats came to play as Gus Ramsden had a double and two RBIs while Nave added a double. Christopher Nobles went 2 for 3 with a single, double and RBI, followed by Evans, who was 1 for 1 with an RBI. Collier said that Evans didn’t play the first part of the game because he was held as a possible relief pitcher. He was later put in the outfield, eventually bunting for a single and RBI with the bases loaded.
“We try to bunt a fair amount to keep things in balance,” Collier said. “If we can keep the defense unsure it gives you an advantage.”
The squad has firm ownership of second place in the league with a 10-2 league record and 14-6 overall. Next comes District play with WV/E slated to play on Friday, May 17 against the winner of a May 14 battle between Burns and Vale. Later on Friday, WV/E will face league leader Irrigon.
“We’re already guaranteed a state playoff spot, but we’d like to sweep both Friday games and go into the tournament as a number one seed,” Collier said.