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Hustlers dominate road wins over Vandals

Payton Eaton, left, fields a late throw to second during an earlier Hustlers “AAA” team home game. The team dominated against the Irrigon Vandals in a twinbill June 17 on the road.	Mark B. File photo

Payton Eaton, left, fields a late throw to second during an earlier Hustlers “AAA” team home game. The team dominated against the Irrigon Vandals in a twinbill June 17 on the road. Mark B. File photo Photo by Mark Gibson.

A powerful wind blew through Irrigon Tuesday as the Columbia Gorge “AAA” Hustlers breezed past the Vandals, in a twinbill blowout, 12-0 and 19-4.

Shortstop Steven Bartells got the game rolling with a short single to left field at the top of the order. Some wild pitching by the Vandals helped Bartells advance, as both Austin Wilson and Clay Copper were hit by pitches. Then Zachary Keimig brought Bartells home on a sacrifice play.

Keimig led the team offensive, reaping five RBIs off a double and a home run in three at bats. McCall and Mathisen also had a pair of hits and one RBI each. Wilson had one hit and one RBI. Walker had one hit off one RBI.

Starting pitcher Dakota Walker made short work of the Vandals in the bottom of the inning, giving up a single, but stranding the runner. Walker picked up the pitching win, striking out seven, walking one and giving up a single hit. Bartell closed with one strikeout in the fifth, one walk and one hit.

“I was pleased with how all our pitchers threw,” said coach J.R. Runyon. “They threw really well and our hitters stayed dialed in all day. [It was] an overall good performance.”

The Hustlers launched their biggest scoring rally of the game in the second inning, running through the order starting with a single from left fielder Kellen Mathisen and second baseman Payton Eaton. Right fielder Colton Walker was hit by a pitch to take his base. A batter later, Wilson doubled, bringing Walker home. Next in the order, third baseman Nolan McCall swatted in Wilson with a single to right.

Copper was hit by a pitch to reach, then Keimig got out his broom to sweep the bases with a three-run homer before the end of the inning.

Dakota Walker struck out three in order for a quick end against the Vandals in the second, leaving the Hustlers with a 7-0 lead after two.

The Hustlers were scoreless in the third. Then McCall got the scoring engine running with a double in the fourth. Copper took a base yet again after being hit by a pitch, Keimig doubled to center, bringing McCall home, then Sargent brought Copper home on a 4-3 sacrifice play. Mathisen added the third double of the inning to center to score Keimig. The Hustlers posted yet another double as Eaton swatted home Mathisen for the final score of the inning, leaving the Hustlers ahead 11-0.

The Vandals’ wild pitching continued in the fifth inning as Wilson was hit by a pitch. Copper reached on an error that brought Wilson home for the final score, capping the 12-0 win.

The Hustlers had originally been scheduled to play against the Tri-County Outlaws in Hermiston, but the Outlaws didn’t have the numbers, Runyon said, so the team headed down the road to Irrigon for the Vandals matchup.

Hustlers domination continued in the nightcap with Clayton Ringer on the bump. He claimed the win, handing out six strikeouts in four innings pitched, giving up four bases on balls and two hits. Connor Olsen closed, striking out three and giving up two walks and three hits.

At the plate, Mathisen led the Hustlers, producing four RBIs off three hits (2B). Bartells was close behind with 3 RBIs off three hits (two 2B). McCall had one RBI on three hits. Copper netted three RBIs off two hits (2B). Eaton drove in two off two hits. Wilson and Ringer each had two hits. Reggie Sargent had two RBIs off one hit. Keimig drove in one off one hit, completing the 19-4 romp.

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