Baseball Buffs explode
Devine gives up only five hits in 10-5 win as Madras splits with Clatskanie
Madras High senior pitcher Kelly Devine took advantage of opportunity on Saturday.
Pitching with a 7-2 lead afforded by a timely triple by Madras baseball teammate Vaughn Prow -- who made the most of opportunity himself in the team's Saturday doubleheader at Madras -- was not lost on Devine. Spreading out Clatskanie's clutch of five hits, Devine engineered a 10-5 win.
A freshman, Prow was inserted at third base by head coach Bruce Reese to compare him to older teammates who had encountered fielding troubles with ground balls in the White Buffalos' recent games.
Prow not only tripled in his second at bat of a seven-run first inning which propelled Madras to a split of Saturday's doubleheader against 2A Clatskanie, he handled most of the chances he had come his way on defense without flaw.
Having lost game one, 6-5, after leading by as much as 5-2, the White Buffalos made the most of their chance. By the end of that second game the Buffs had only one more hit than Clatskanie, but they made the most of those six hits.
He surrendered two runs in the top of the first, but Devine was hardly hit hard by Clatskanie in that inning or the rest of the second game. He was more fortunate than Carter Gill, who had thrown well enough to win in the first game only to be betrayed by fielding mistakes by teammates.
Gill had been pitching for the junior varsity Buffs before being called on to pitch for the varsity on Saturday. He impressed the coaches enough that his chances of further trials in upcoming non-league games against Woodburn or Sisters likely improved.
Gary Villa put himself in the same situation with an effective relief appearance on Saturday against Clatskanie for Madras.
Villa also picked up a hit in the bottom of the sixth for Madras in the first game against Clatskanie which showed the meaning of each run. Though reaching third, Villa was left stranded. His getting chased home would have given Madras a 6-4 lead which would have let Clatskanie's two runs in the seventh only tie the score.
The first inning of the second game was the most eventful frame of the day.
After Devine worked his way out of what appeared more trouble than it proved, by striking out a Tiger with two runners on, his teammates took advantage, sparked by Prow.
Making Clatskanie's pitcher work so Devine might gain some recovery time, Prow drew a walk to start the Madras first. That brought Devine to bat. A pivotal play developed as Devine grounded to short with Prow running. The shortstop tried to cut down Prow but the umpire said Prow beat the throw. By then, Devine was close enough to first to beat that throw, according to the umpire. With two runners on and no outs, versus none on and two outs, the complexion of the inning improved. Nate St. John's single to center made it better.
"It really doesn't seem that bad I'm catching. It only starts to hurt if I have to run. I love playing but I'll take it easy," St. John said of how an ankle he twisted about a week earlier had recovered.
With a run in and St. John chasing Devine around the bases, Joey McConnell and Pat Marston kept the merry-go-round moving for Madras, as did Jason Walters. Keeping his streak alive of driving in or scoring at least one run in the Buffs four latest games, Walters sacrificed Devine home.
Danzuka then missed a sign from coach Reese but wound up driving in a run by taking a pitch in the ribs when he was supposed to bunt.
Ryan Fivecoat also reached when hit by a pitch to set the stage for Prow's bases-loaded hit which plated Marston, Danzuka and Fivecoat.
Holding Clatskanie to one run and answering with two in the second inning helped Madras too.
Eventually, Danzuka was inserted as the closer and struck out two Tigers and coerced a grounder for the other out in the seventh inning.
With a combination of solid hits, even if for outs, and good efforts in the field, the entire Madras lineup helped it win as Tim Kirsch and others also chipped in. Matt Ellsbury proved another victim of hitting the ball hard for Madras but having it caught.