Having struggled on the road early on this season, The Dalles Wahtonka had an opportunity to get things right with a pivotal two-game set versus Pendleton on Saturday.
And they did so in a big way.
TDW stopped a three-game road losing streak with a prolific offensive display that busted out 24 runs on 22 hits including six home runs in wins of 12-1 and 12-5 over the Buckaroos in Columbia River Conference baseball action.
With this latest outburst, TDW has a one-game lead over Hood River Valley for first place in the standings. The Eagle Indians now boast the 5A classification’s best scoring offense (138 runs) and it vaulted them to No. 5 in the rankings.
“It was fun to see the fireworks today,” said TDW head coach J.R. Runyon. “(We had) six home runs on the day, one of which was an inside-the-parker. That kind of day doesn’t happen very often and I am proud of the way we played today.”
TDW jumped off the bus with purpose and rattled off seven runs in the top half of the first frame, using two singles, a double, two walks and two home runs.
Kaci Kiser led off the contest with a round tripper, and then Justin Sugg and Connor Mathisen followed with walks.
One out later, Clay Copper drove in Sugg with an RBI single and Steven Bartells chased home both Mathisen and Copper with a two-run double to make it 4-0.
Bartells ended up scoring on the next play, as Dakota Walker reached on an error.
Senior Kevin Henderson then blasted a two-run home run that sailed more than 385-feet to cap the frame and give T-Dub a 7-0 cushion.
Nolan McCall added an RBI single in the second frame and Sugg drove in Austin Wilson with an RBI groundout in the third to make the score 9-1 through three innings.
Up by eight runs in the fifth, Mathisen hammered a three-run home run to score himself, Sugg and Wilson to make it 12-1.
Walker was the beneficiary of such support with a complete-game performance on the mound.
The senior right-hander struck out five, walked five and allowed three hits in his five frames for his third win of the year.
Henderson paced the offense with a 3-for-3 effort
In the nightcap, Kiser and Bartells had three hits apiece, McCall slugged two home runs and Mathisen tossed five innings of seven-hit ball to lead TDW to a 12-5 win and the sweep.
Instead of a blowout matchup, both teams traded runs through the first five innings, but the Tribe led 7-4 entering the sixth.
After a leadoff walk to Mathisen, McCall dropped a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw to run the Eagle Indian lead up to 9-4.
Later in the inning, Bartells scored on a fielder’s choice by Henderson, Wilson drove in Henderson with a single and he then later crossed home after an error to make it 12-4.
On the mound, Mathisen and Bartells combined for six strikeouts and five earned runs.
In the 12 innings played, the tribe committed one error and Copper, the catcher, did not allow a stolen base.
“We had a tremendous effort on the mound by our pitchers, our defense made the plays and our hitters came alive,” Runyon added.
McCall went 2 for 5 with three runs and three RBIs, and Wilson had a hit, a run scored, two sacrifice flies and four RBIs.
Henderson notched two hits and three runs, Bartells had a 3 for 5 split with a home run and three runs scored and Zach Cantrell and Sugg each posted a hit apiece to lead the 12-hit barrage.
“We had a great effort top-to-bottom today,” said TDW head coach J. R. Runyon. “These guys came ready to compete from the first pitch to the last.”
TDW (13-5 overall, 4-1 league) hosted Pendleton at 4 :30 p.m. today.
At noon Saturday, the Tribe hosts Hood River Valley for two games.