Baseball Buffs win in third try
- Brian Liebenstein
- Madras Pioneer - Sports
Look improved against Burns after loss to La Pine
Madras High's baseball field proved a homer haven Saturday.
Thankfully for the home team White Buffalos, the three-run blast Owen Danzuka launched in the fourth inning as part of six-run uprising by Madras left it ahead 6-4 so a two-run shot by Burns only tied the game.
That set the stage for Pat Marston's single for Madras in the seventh inning of game two of a Saturday doubleheader. Marston ended the game in a Madras win with his hit, even though Joey McConnell stumbled going around third and leapt back to the bag. McConnell was waved home with the winning run in the White Buffalos' 7-6 win when the umpires ruled he was blocked from advancing by a Burns infielder.
Madras head coach Bruce Reece considered it fitting for Marston to be involved in the winning play, which improved the Buffs early season record to 1-2, after a 14-4 March 19 loss to La Grande plus a 3-2 loss to Burns in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.
"When you no hit someone for four innings and are behind 4-0, something's not quite right," said Reece. He insinuated Marston's performance as the starting pitcher for Madras in that second game was snake bit by errors behind him.
"That first game I wasn't satisfied with our hitting but the second game was better. I really thought we were about three weeks ahead of where we showed we are on defense," Reece said.
Ryan Fivecoat, playing with an injured thumb, only played on defense in center yet completely ignored the injury and made two "great" plays, said Reece.
Marston deserved a better reward than he held after three and a half innings of game two, Reece said.
But Danzuka's three-run home run in the six-run fourth for Madras put the Buffs ahead enough for McConnell's seventh-inning double and Marston's single to make a winner of Johnny Cleveland, who gave up just one hit in his three innings on the mound.
A fielding mistake cost Cleveland too. A sixth-inning home run he surrendered was worth two runs instead of one. It tied the game 6-6. But Cleveland's overall performance left Coach Reece optimistic. Cleveland pitched very well last summer.
Burns converted errors by Marston's teammates along with a walk into a pair of runs in the first inning and then scored once each in the third and fourth, aided by more walks and errors, to take the 4-0 lead.
Danzuka was nearly left on deck for Madras in the fourth.
Instead, he used the at bat which Kelly Devine saved him to clear the fence between left and center by 10 feet.
Devine beat out a bases-loaded grounder when his contact with a Baker pitcher's throw proved just enough to get past the pitcher and force the Highlanders' second baseman to race in and try to throw him out at first. But Devine was safe.
Since the bases were loaded, Marston scored from third in the same time span Devine was making it to first in. With the runners all moving upon Devine's contact, Guy Reynolds was around third too far to retreat so he raced for home needing a little help not to be tagged out. That good luck materialized in a high throw that gave Madras a second run and let Danzuka come to bat.
Marston had been on third with Devine at the plate thanks to singling to right then being pushed around when Reynolds and Cleveland each walked around a pair of outs.
McConnell doubled between Baker's left fielder and center field to set up the game-winning play.
Marston's single to left got deep enough for Reece to motion McConnell to try to score. But a collision with Baker's third baseman while rounding the bag downed McConnell enough to leave him scrambling back. The umpire ruled McConnell had been obstructed trying to get home. Interference, by rule, grants the runner the next base in their path at the time so McConnell was sent home, giving Madras the win.
Madras was 0-2 after Baker's 3-2 win in the first game before recovering.
Baker's win in Saturday's first game had Madras at 0-2, as it had dropped a 14-4 decision to La Pine March 19.
Madras had more chances to win Saturday's