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Wins keep Culver baseball in Tri-River race

by: Photo By Gary Lindberg - When John Decker (in helmet) crossed home plate after hitting a three-run home run against Western Mennonite, many of his Culver teammates celebrated with him. The happy Bulldogs were (from left): Ben Fisher, Jared Hettick, Decker, Devin Ozment and Jeremiah Calvin. Culver’s victory started a two-game winning streak in 2A/1A Special District 2 play.

Going into this week, Culver is a game out of the 2A/1A Special District 2 baseball playoffs.
   The Bulldogs (3-3 league, 9-5 overall) won two straight to put themselves in solid contention midway through the league season. Culver has eight league games left, half at home.
   That stretch includes a home contest against Kennedy (4-2) on Tuesday, April 15 (played after press time). A road game at Santiam on Thursday and a home game against Blanchet on Tuesday, April 22, follow for the Bulldogs.
   The top four Special District 2 teams advance to the district playoffs. Culver enters this week in fifth place, a game behind Kennedy and Scio.
   "We're in the middle of everything," Bulldog coach James Macy said. "The game against Kennedy is really important."
   Culver scored 20 runs in its past two games in beating Western Mennonite 11-7 on Tuesday, April 8, and then at Delphian 9-0 Saturday.
   John Decker led the offense against Western Mennonite with a three-run homer and a double. He drilled the homer in the second inning and added a run-scoring double the next inning. It was the senior catcher's first homer of the year.
   Nick Barany and Austin Barany also hit run-scoring doubles in the game.
   Big hits continued at Delphian. Austin Barany and Ben Fisher drilled two-run doubles.
   The trio of Nick Barany, Jeremiah Calvin and Riley Gibson pitched a two-hit shutout. They combined to strike out nine while allowing just two walks.
   "All three threw really well," Macy said.