Young Rangers defy the odds with a 2A state berth

Dufur second baseman Kaleb Pence makes an acrobatic throw to first for an out in Tuesday’s league doubleheader at Dufur City Park. The Rangers, who started six freshmen and a sophomore, swept past Weston-McEwen by scores of 10-0 and 15-2 to earn their state berth. Freshman hurler Isaac Anthony tossed a no-hitter in the opener. 

DUFUR – They were young, wet behind the ears and made some rookie mistakes, but through it all, the Dufur Rangers are off to state.

With their pitching, the young Rangers could be a problem this year, let alone the future.

Isaac Anthony tossed his first-career varsity no-hitter on 65 pitches and capped the opening-game of a twinbill with a walk-off RBI single in Dufur’s 10-0 five-inning mercy-ruled victory over Weston-McEwen Tuesday from Dufur City Park.

“This is a growing thing for this group of athletes, and I believe that we are ahead of schedule in their development,” Dufur head coach C.S. Little said. “We have a group of kids that love the game of baseball. I feel they are dedicated to becoming better players and a force in the future.”

In his five frames, Anthony, a freshman southpaw, fanned 13, walked one and had two putouts. No infielder or outfielder had a putout in the game.

“Gabe (Petroff) and I have been working together for a while now and we have good chemistry,” Anthony said. “It kind of took a little bit to get under control, but, I just relaxed and then we kept going from there and Gabe helped me out with that.”

The Rangers pounded out 11 hits and received five walks.

Carson Smith went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and Conor Holloway added two hits, two runs and two RBIs.

Anthony finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs, Petroff had a hit, scored twice and an RBI, and Brock Lafaver chipped in a 1 for 1 effort with two walks, a run scored and an RBI.

In the nightcap, Lafaver scattered four hits and allowed two runs, one earned, with four walks and five strikeouts across six innings and the Rangers broke open a 6-2 lead with a nine-run top of the seventh frame in a 15-2 playoff-clinching win over Weston-McEwen.

Louis Red Cloud, who had two highlight catches in centerfield, went 2 for 4 with a run scored and three RBIs, and Holloway added two hits, three runs scored and an RBI to lead Dufur’s 12-hit attack.

Kaleb Pence was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI, Russell Peters added a hit, three runs and two RBIs, and Anthony was 2 for 4 with two runs scored.

Smith was 1 for 4 with a walk, a run and an RBI, and Jake Dollarhide stroked a two-run double as part of the nine-run seventh frame.

Dufur (11-8 overall, 9-5 league) most likely plays on the road Monday at a time and location to be determined.

“We can look back on this and see how much we improved as a team through the year,” Anthony said. “It is great to get into the playoffs, but we feel like we have a lot more to get. It is going to take focus, teamwork, staying together and just playing baseball.”

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