Crook County blows a big lead, then comes from behind late to salvage a 19-17 win over La Pine

The Crook County Cowboys squandered a huge lead Wednesday, then came back with three runs in the top of the seventh inning to escape with a 19-17 win in a wild game against the La Pine LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Chase McCall fields a ball at shortstop during the seventh inning of the Cowboys' 19-17 win over the La Pine Hawks. The Cowboys earned an out on the play.

“We blew a 10-run lead,” said Crook County Head Coach Frank Martinez. “We made a lot of errors. I don’t know if we got overconfident or what happened, but one thing it shows me is that they battle all the way. They could have given up, but they came back and beat them.”

The game, which was originally scheduled for La Pine, was moved to Prineville due to unplayable conditions on La Pine’s baseball diamond. Still, as the designated home team, La Pine batted last in the contest.

The Cowboys opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first inning, then exploded for five runs in the second. La Pine managed a run of their own in the bottom of the second, before the Cowboys seemingly put the game out of reach with five more runs in the top of the fourth inning.

La Pine answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, but the Cowboys still held an 11-4 lead. It looked like the game would end early due to the 10-run rule after Crook County scored five more runs in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 16-4.

Martinez pulled starting pitcher Dylan Blasius after the fourth inning, electing to give some of the team’s younger pitchers a chance to show what they could do. “We were experimenting,” he said. “We wanted to try some of the other pitchers. They have to pitch sometime, so why not do it now?”

The move backfired as a string of three Cowboy pitchers walked seven batters in the inning. La Pine took advantage, scoring 13 runs in the inning to take a 17-16 lead. La Pine finished with seven hits in the inning, however, four of them were infield singles. The?Cowboys also committed five errors in the inning as 18 Hawks came to the plate.

Neither team scored in the sixth inning and the Cowboys went into the top of the seventh still trailing by a run.

When the first two Crook County batters of the inning popped out, things looked bleak for Cowboys. However, Jared Wheeler singled to right to keep the inning alive. Wheeler advanced to second on a wild pitch, before Chase McCall reached base on an infield single. Wheeler and McCall advanced to second and third on a passed ball before Blasius blasted a single to left field to score a pair of runs. Trevor Slawter kept the inning alive with a single up the middle. Then Kohlter Kee singled to score Blasius, giving the Cowboys a 19-17 lead. Wheeler, who pitched the final two and 1/3 innings, walked two Hawks in the bottom of the seventh, but managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run as he struck out the final batter of the game.

“It was scary blowing that 12-run lead,” Martinez said. “But we hit the ball very well and the kids never gave up. Wheeler saved us at the end.”

The Cowboys finished with 21 hits in the contest, compared to just nine for the Hawks. However, Crook County walked 14 batters and committed seven errors.

Still a win is a win and the Cowboys were able to even their record at 3-3. Meanwhile, the Hawks fell to 1-8.

Crook County is back in action Saturday when they travel to Sherman County to face Class 2A Pilot Rock in a doubleheader, which starts at 11 a.m.

Following Saturday’s games, the Cowboys have a week off before starting Intermountain Hybrid League play on Monday, April 14, when they host the Redmond Panthers. The Cowboys host the Panthers again on Wednesday, April 16, then finish the three-game series with a game at Redmond on Friday, April 18. All three games are scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

Crook County 19,

La Pine 17

at Crook County

Crook County 1 5 0 5 5 0 3 — 19 21 7

La Pine 0 1 0 3 (13) 0 0 — 17 9 7

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