Call it the good loss theory -- that a loss can be worth a few wins.
The Madras baseball team put that theory into play after a surprising 7-5 loss to Klamath Union in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader. It was the first White Buffalo loss as well as the first Pelican win.
Madras did bounce back for a split. Then the Buffs overpowered Marshfield in a Monday doubleheader.
"We definitely brought more intensity to the field Monday than we did on Saturday (against Klamath Union)," Buff coach Stann Dmytryk said. "Between the coaches talking to the team and the players talking among themselves, we were ready to play against Marshfield. They played more to their potential today (Monday)."
The busy schedule continues leading up to the Intermountain Conference opener on Tuesday, April 1, by hosting Bend. Madras has two games in the La Pine Thaw Tourney, moved to Mountain View due to field conditions. The Buffs face Cascade at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and then La Pine at 11 a.m. Friday. Then a noon Saturday doubleheader at Henley looms. The Hornets advanced to the 4A semifinals as part of a 26-3 record.
"We'll have some of our younger guys throw in the La Pine tourney," Dmytryk said. "Then we have Henley and league coming up, so we'll have to decide who we're going to throw for those games."
Madras 18-10, Marshfield 5-3: An 11-run third inning set a dominant sweep in motion. The Buffs went on to pound out 12 hits with seven of the extra-base variety.
Sophomore Turner Gill led the way despite illness. Gill drove in six runs with a double, triple and home run. He also had a two-run single in his only at bat in the second game.
"Turner was definitely ill, but he was really hitting the ball," the Madras coach said.
Three other Buffs had multi-hit games in the opener. Rodney Smith had two doubles and drove in two runs. Albert Adams and Josh Farrester, hitting ninth, added two hits and drove in two runs.
"Our entire lineup was hitting, from the first guy through the ninth," Dmytryk said. "That's a great sign."
Darrell Ceciliani was the beneficiary, needing to throw just five innings for a complete-game victory. He struck out four while allowing nine hits.
The trend of big hits and strong pitching continued in the second game.
Sophomore starter Martin Brown gave up two runs in the first inning, on two hits and a hit batter. That was it.
Brown allowed just one more hit while striking out five.
"It was a matter of getting in the groove," Brown said. "It's all about location and getting settled in."
The Buffs tied the score in the bottom of the first on Ceciliani's two-run home run to right center. An inning later, Ceciliani drilled a two-run double to center after the Buffs scored an unearned run.
"Once I got the lead, it was a matter of getting it done," Brown said.
Getting it done meant throwing first-pitch strikes, Dmytryk said.
"After that first inning, Martin came off the field saying `I'm just getting warmed up.' He certainly was," Dmytryk said.
Zach Quinn followed with a pair of strikeouts in his inning of relief. Ethan Adams closed out the game, allowing an unearned run.
By then, Ceciliani had driven in another run with a triple and Gill added his two-run single.
Klamath Union 7-1, Madras 5-2: This wasn't the doubleheader the Buffs expected.
That was because the Pelicans had already been swept sternly by fellow IMC teams Bend (10-0, 3-2) and Mountain View (12-0, 13-1) earlier this season.
"These games are a learning experience for us," said Albert Adams who earned a complete-game victory in the second game. "We have to come to the field every day wanting to work and get better instead of just getting it done."
Klamath Union did in the opener with pitcher Jake Waardenberg overpowering the Madras hitters through the first six innings. Waardenberg struck out 12 while allowing just two hits.
"He's the fastest pitcher we've seen all year," Adams said. "Some of the guys were a little intimidated by him."
The Buffs led for much of the opener with a two-out run in the first. Adams had a single with a hit batter and a walk creating a run on a Waardenberg wild pitch.
That lead lasted into the fifth. Prow didn't allow a hit in four innings while striking out six. The Pelicans scratched out an unearned run in the fifth in Josh Roth's first inning with a walk and infield error.
Both teams' bats woke up in the seventh. Klamath Union strung together five hits including a two-run triple and three-run homer by Waardenberg to take a 7-1 lead.
Madras nearly came all the way back, after two outs off a Pelican reliever.
Two walks and an infield error set up a grand slam homer by Turner Gill. The sophomore fouled off three pitches before the homer.
"That was a battle," Dmytryk said. "Turner had to fight off some good pitches before getting one to hit."
Another walk kept the rally alive, but an infield out ended the game.
A second pitcher's battle followed, this time with Adams locked on the mound for the Buffs. Adams gave himself an early lead by scoring a run in the first. After a one-out single, Adams stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Quinn's single to left.
Klamath Union answered by turning a walk and double into a run in the second. That was the first of just six hits Adams allowed.
"My curve was working really well today," Adams said. "Last year that pitch got better as the season went along. It's starting to pick up right now."
Adams threw plenty of curves in his 90-pitch outing. He struck out six and allowed four walks.
Madras had help from some erratic Pelican base running in the fifth. With no outs, the visitors had the bases loaded. A weak grounder turned into a run down between third and home with the Klamath Union runner being tagged out.
After a throw to second, the Buffs were involved in another rundown. Again, a Pelican was tagged out near home.
"That's the first time I've been involved in something like that," Adams said. "It was pretty exciting."
Before it started, Adams remembers thinking "how am I going to get myself out of this. Then we got two outs on the same play with me tagging both guys outs."
The play was executed just as it should have, Adams said.
"You just fill in with guys making the runner keep moving," Adams said. "Whoever is closest is supposed to tag him out. Fortunately, I was there to tag both out."
Still tied, Madras edged ahead in the bottom of the fifth. Ethan Adams led off with a single, used a stolen base and wild pitch to move to third. After Albert Adams' walk, Zach Quinn delivered a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run.
Klamath Union put the tying run on base in both of the final two innings. Yet another rundown play erased the threat in the sixth. Klamath Union had a two-out double in the seventh, but Adams struck out the the next Pelican he faced.
"I wasn't expecting to go seven innings before the game started," said Adams who threw 90 pitches. "I thought I'd be going five innings. Actually, I probably could have gone a few more innings."