Pitchers prove their power at plate besides on mound
Pitchers Owen Danzuka, Kelly Devine, Johnny Cleveland and Jason Walters each added powerful bats to their prowess on the mound for Madras in anchoring a doubleheader sweep of La Pine in Saturday's American Legion baseball battle between them.
Madras finished off La Pine, 11-1, under a 10-run rule, in the bottom of the sixth inning of the second game after winning the first game, 8-4.
Cleveland slid home on a passed ball after singling to left then going to third when an attempt to catch him stealing was thrown into center field. The error was the second of the game that helped Cleveland. In the fourth inning of that second game Cleveland had driven a fly ball over the center fielder's head that would have been an RBI sacrifice fly had it not bounced out of that La Pine fielder's glove and been put in the Madras scorebook as a triple. The 8-4 first-game win for Madras had included a Cleveland home run.
The American League Madras team -- playing an exhibition schedule for the second straight season -- is sponsored by Fish's Shuttle.
Madras started its first week of Legion play by using even more pitchers than those noted. The hitting and fielding exhibition by Madras not only beat La Pine, but earlier beat a team from Bend, stocked with Mountain View High players, on June 16, plus Redmond.
Culver's Josh O'Gorman was involved in one of the earlier wins by the American Legion group being coached by Madras High coach Bruce Reece. O'Gorman played for Madras in a Tuesday, June 17, home win against Redmond which Madras won after having beaten a team stocked with Mt. View High (Bend) players the evening before.
Redmond beat Madras 11-8 in a July 19 game at Redmond before the Fish's Shuttle team responded with its Saturday sweep.
"We've been hitting the ball well in all our games. We just ran into some fielding troubles in Redmond," Coach Bruce Reece said of Madras.
The bats were out in force Saturday.
Tyler Ellsbury, Walters and Danzuka led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back-to-back singles for Madras in Saturday's first game with Ellsbury scoring the first run before Devine doubled in the other two. They were just some of the contributors, who included Devin Reece at the plate and in the outfield.
Brandon Fivecoat was praised by coach Reece for his catching for Madras Saturday, when Danzuka wasn't behind the plate.
Devine, who graduated from Madras a few weeks ago, qualifies for the Legion team by still being under 19.
"His throwing helps the younger kids a lot," said Stan Williams, the pitching coach who wants pitchers coming into the Madras program to see how well Devine has picked up what he's been shown.
On Saturday, Devine was in left field and supporting the younger pitchers at the plate when not closing out Danzuka's first-game win.
Stoked by a Cleveland RBI, Devine home run and Matt Ellsbury single, Madras scored six times in its second inning of the second game to take a 7-0 lead. Plating Tyler Ellsbury, Walters and Cleveland in its fourth, Madras expanded its lead to 10-0 before La Pine forced home a run it needed to continue the game in the top of the fifth. Holding Madras to a Tyler Ellsbury single to right in the bottom of the fifth in the midst of outs by Ryan Fivecoat, Walters and Danzuka let La Pine force a sixth inning in that second game.
Further action is slated for Madras in a tournament at Meridian, Idaho, which starts Thursday and continues through Sunday.
Tim Kirsch and Joey McConnell, two of the baseball team's members who are also among Madras's multi-sport stars, have been at a team basketball camp at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., since Monday. They hope to get to the two games left for Madras. Kirsch, McConnell and Matt Ellsbury, or anyone else at the team basketball camp for Madras might miss one game at the parks a few miles west of Boise.
But, said Reece, Kirsch and McConnell Matt Ellsbury, to contribute.