While players on the Columbia Gorge Hustlers admit there are plenty of improvements to make, going 3-2 and placing third overall in their opening tournament is a good place to start.
In those five American Legion contests, the Hustlers racked up 35 runs on 53 hits for a team batting average of .333, capping the three-day Ashlee Hodgen Memorial Tournament in Pendleton with a 15-3 mercy-ruled victory over the Hermiston Heat.
Against Hermiston on Sunday, the Hustlers pounded out 13 hits as they scored at least two runs in every inning, including a six-spot in the top of the first frame.
Ben Schanno went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI; Michael Armstrong tacked on two hits, one double, scored twice and had an RBI in four at-bats; and Austin Green was 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
Josh Johnson added a 2 for 4 split with a run and an RBI; Dalles Seufalemua went 1 for 3 with a double, a walk and an RBI; and Ben Nelson chipped in a hit, a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI in five plate appearances.
As the starter, Johnson tossed three innings of five-hit ball with two strikeouts and a walk. All three runs allowed were earned.
Seufalemua finished the last two innings in relief and held Hermiston to no runs on one hit with a walk and four strikeouts.
On Friday in their first game at Bob White Field, Jordan Wetmore pitched nine innings and allowed five runs, three earned, on six hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts and the Hustlers scored the game-winning run on a walk-off hit to defeat Southridge, of Tri-Cities, in extra innings, by a 6-5 final margin.
Offensively, the Hustlers tallied 12 hits, led by Jose Gonzalez and Connor Baughn, who each totaled three hits and an RBI apiece.
Gonzalez had a run and a stolen base, and Baughn smacked a double to go with his two singles.
Seufalemua was 3 for 3 with two doubles, two walks and an RBI; Nelson tallied a hit, two walks, two runs and an RBI; Colton Baughn went 1 for 3 with a walk; and Hajicek finished 2 for 4 with a stolen base, a sacrifice and a run scored.
On Saturday, the Hustlers went 1-1, losing their first game by a 7-3 margin versus the Hermiston Heat.
Hajicek and Connor Baughn each posted three hits and a run scored in four at-bats, Greene was 1 for 3 with a run scored and Nelson doubled to drive in two runs in the sixth for his only hit in four at-bats.
Schanno and Colton Baughn notched a hit each and Smith was 0 for 3 with a walk as the Hustlers had nine hits and a walk.
Armstrong went the distance in his start and allowed seven runs, six earned, on nine hits with six walks and seven strikeouts to get tagged with the loss.
Following that loss, the Hustlers used a 14-hit attack and rode the pitching of Colton Baughn, Schacher and Smith to defeat La Grande by a 9-5 score in Saturday’s nightcap.
Smith was 3 for 4 with a double, a hit by pitch, a run scored and an RBI; Hajicek added two hits, a walk and scored twice; and Schanno went 2 for 5 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs.
Nelson notched two hits, a run and an RBI; Schacher was 2 for 2 with a double, two walks and two RBIs; Armstrong had a hit, a walk and a run scored; and Connor Baughn ended up with a hit, a walk and an RBI in four at-bats.
CG starter, Colton Baughn, went three innings and allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts for the win.
Schacher tossed three innings of relief and gave up one earned run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout, and Smith pitched a scoreless frame in relief and walked one and struck out one.
The Hustlers had a chance to move on to the winner’s bracket in their early Sunday matchup versus Hodgen Distributing, out of Pendleton, but could only muster four hits as the Pendleton squad broke open a 2-all tie with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure a 6-2 win at Bob White Field.
Both Baily Hajicek and Seufalemua went 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored, and Dominic Smith and Armstrong were each 1 for 3 to account for all the Hustlers offense.
Smith got the starting nod on the mound for the Hustlers, and the right-hander allowed one earned run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts in three frames for the no-decision.
Schacher pitched two relief innings and gave up one unearned run on three hits with two walks and a strikeout, and Nelson toed the rubber in the game-deciding sixth and surrendered four earned runs on three hits and four walks with no strikeouts to get the loss.
Up next, the Hustlers are in Hood River for a three-day tourney starting Friday.
At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, the team has its first home games in a twinbill against Alpenrose.
To keep track of season stats and any scheduling changes, log on to www.ballcharts.com/CGHustlers.