Riding on the heels of a late-inning comeback versus Gresham Wednesday that extended their season-high winning streak to eight games, No. 4-ranked The Dalles flipped the script with a hot start using a nine-run third frame in a 12-1 mercy-ruled triumph over 6A Lincoln Friday in non-league baseball play at Quinton Street Ballpark.
“We have been stressing to these guys the importance of having that fire from the very first inning,” said TD head coach J.R. Runyon. “It is a long time coming to get to that point, but you definitely felt like the guys had that today. You could feel their energy from the get-go. They were ready to compete.”
Staked to a 2-0 cushion entering the third frame, the Eagle Indians sent 14 batters to the plate and rattled off three hits, received six walks and took advantage of four Cardinal errors to score nine runs to go out in front by an 11-0 margin.
Two runs scored on an error, Zachary Keimig had an RBI walk and Gordy Harris plated two runs on a single to right to chase home Zach Cantrell and Payton Eaton and run the count to 7-0.
Keimig later scored on an error, Harris scurried to the plate on a bad pickoff attempt, and Nolan McCall chased home Steven Bartells on an RBI sacrifice fly.
On the next at-bat with Clay Copper at the dish, Colin Noonan scored the final run on a balk to cap the scoring.
The Dalles scored another run in the bottom of the fourth inning to go up 12-0, so all that stood in the way of a mercy rule were three outs and Cantrell on the hill.
The senior allowed one run on one hit, but retired the final batter on a groundout to shortstop to end the game.
In addition to the stout scoring binge put forth by the Tribe, senior southpaw Clayton Ringer had his second consecutive quality start by going four innings strong.
He scattered three hits, struck out four and walked one, while facing 16 batters to chalk up his second win of the season.
Ringer lowered his earned run average to 1.94 and batters are now hitting a paltry .189 on the year.
“He is doing really well this year,” Runyon added. “He is commanding his pitches, fooling batters and doing an outstanding job for us. I like his demeanor out on the mound. He doesn’t ever seem to get rattled. He handles his business, pumps in strikes and lets the defense make some plays.”
McCall went 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Bartells, Noonan and Eaton scored two runs each, and both Noonan, Cantrell and Harris had two RBIs.
The team received 11 walks, nine different runners scored and eight drove in runs.
“We definitely came out early and got some runs on the board,” said Noonan, who is hitting .325 on the year and leads the team with 17 runs. “We came out and scored nine runs in one inning and everybody did their part. Clayton pitched a heck of a ballgame, Zach came in and did great too. We did good today.”
Out to a 10-2 start, with the wins coming in many forms and fashion, Walker, who leads a staff that has a 2.95 ERA, says all parts of the team are on the same page with an extreme focus in mind.
“Coming off of last year, you have all these juniors that are now seniors who are looking to move past that first round of the playoffs,” Walker said. “They do a good job of getting everyone focused and ready for the games, so that helps our mentality. Our team is ready and clicking to be better.”
The Eagle Indians (10-2 overall) host No. 7-ranked Corvallis (6-6) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for their non-league finale.
TD softball loses fifth in a row
Tiffany Demezas had two hits and drove in two runs and Emalyn Weislogel tossed a complete-game shutout in Hillsboro’s 3-0 victory Friday over The Dalles in a non-league softball matchup played at Hillsboro High School.
The loss was the Eagle Indians’ season-high fifth straight, as they managed just five hits in seven frames.
With the setback, TD (6-7 overall) drops down to No. 13 with Columbia River Conference action starting Saturday at Hermiston (4-7) at noon.