Entering Tuesday’s Blue Mountain Conference battle versus Horizon Christian, the No. 2-ranked Dufur Rangers have been scoring 15.3 runs per game.
Once the final out was put in the books, that number rose substantially, as the Rangers broke open a 9-3 lead with 14 runs in the bottom of the third inning on their way to a 26-5 win over the Hawks in a league contest at Dufur City Park.
One of the biggest hits that got the dominoes falling came in the bottom of the first inning with the Rangers down 3-1 and senior infielder Nathan Duling at the plate.
Duling deposited a deep shot over the left field fence for a three-run home to give his team a 4-3 lead, something they would never relinquish. “Nathan got us going really with that home run in the first inning, then those other guys cleaned clock after that,” said Dufur skipper C.S. Little.
Once up by a 9-5 margin entering the home half of the third inning, the Rangers dropped the hammer down on Horizon with a 14-run burst to put the game at a 23-5 score.
In the inning, Dufur (11-2 overall, 3-0 league) sent 20 batters to the plate and posted five hits, seven walks and two hit batters.
The 4-5-6 hitters in the order, Trever Tibbets, Josh Keyser and Duling combined to go 7 for 8 with four home runs, 18 RBIs and nine runs scored.
Tibbets homered and plated six runs and scored five times, and Keyser went 3 for 4 with two home runs, a double, eight RBIs and three runs.
Jake Kortge roped out two hits, had four RBIs and scored three runs to round out the leaders.
Cole Parke picked up the win from the mound with two innings of relief work.
The senior allowed two runs on one hit and struck out two.
Tuesday’s romp was the 10th in a row for a Ranger team that has lost two games this season by an average of 1.5 runs.
Little said things will get interesting Saturday, as they travel to Moro for a league tussle against No. 14 Sherman (6-1-1, 1-1-1 league) at 11 a.m.
“We got to keep hitting the ball. We have had about 10 or 11 games in a row where we have crushed the ball,” coach Little said. “I feel like we still have to clean up our errors.
“We booted the ball around early and it got us in trouble. When you hit the ball like we have here lately, it erases a lot of those mistakes. All-in-all we are playing good baseball, but there is room for improvement.”