The losing streak for Madras baseball ended just in time.
>Big win at Hermiston buoys playoff hopes
The White Buffalos beat Hermiston in the Saturday's second game of the Intermountain Conference doubleheader to stop a slide at three games. The split puts Madras at 2-3 in IMC play with a two-game series against The Dalles-Wahtonka this week.
The Buffs (10-5 overall) host the Eagle Indians on Thursday and travel to The Dalles on Saturday. Madras is tied for sixth, but just a game out of the top four after the first two weeks of IMC play. A home doubleheader against Crook County follows on Tuesday, April 22.
Earlier last week, the Buffs fell to visiting Mountain View 16-6 on Tuesday, April 8, for what was a second straight IMC loss. Mountain View then split a doubleheader at The Dalles-Wahtonka on Saturday for its first IMC loss this season.
"In the second game against Hermiston, the guys were playing like they did at the start of the season," Madras coach Stann Dmytryk said. "They rebounded after losing that first game."
Dmytryk characterized the bus ride back from Hermiston as "a long team meeting."
"I think we've turned the corner," Dmytryk said. "The guys were positive and upbeat."
Hermiston 7-5, Madras 6-12: Trailing by a pair of runs in the nightcap, the Buffs responded.
Madras pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of several Hermiston errors in the later innings.
"Their starter (Bryce Baldock) was a junk-ball pitcher, so our guys did a great job of battling against him," Dmytryk said. "They made the guy throw a lot of pitches."
That paid off with big fifth and sixth innings. The Buffs went ahead with a three-run fifth and added four unearned runs in the sixth.
In the fifth, singles by Rodney Smith, Albert Adams and Darrell Ceciliani scored a run. Turner Gill followed with a sacrifice fly to score Adams with an error scoring Ceciliani.
An inning later, Smith reached base with a two-out error to start a big inning. Singles by Adams and Ceciliani then loaded the bases. Jake Prow followed with a two-run double. Two more runs scored on a Bulldog error.
All those runs were enough for Albert Adams and Prow. Adams went the first five innings, allowing two earned runs, four hits and two walks.
"Albert kept his confidence up," Dmytryk said. "Jake (at catcher) did a great job of reading the Hermiston hitters and communicating with Albert. Then they mixed up their pitches well."
Prow then closed out the game, striking out the side in the sixth.
"That may be Jake's role the rest of the season," Dmytryk said. "We have guys who can start the game -- Martin Brown, Zach Quinn or Josh Roth -- then let Jake close it out."
Both Adams and Ceciliani had three hits each, with Adams drilling a solo homer in the first. Quinn added a double.
In the opener, the Buffs nearly rallied from an early 5-2 deficit.
Prow drilled a three-run home run in the fifth, a shot to left center field.
"The ball was still rising when it cleared the fence," Dmytryk said.
The Bulldogs responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, the only two off Brown in relief.
A Buff rally fell short in the top of the seventh. With one out, Ceciliani and Prow singled for a run. After a walk, a double play ended the game.
Both Prow and Ceciliani had three hits each. Prow drove in four runs while Ceciliani hit a double. Brown also had a run-scoring double.
Mountain View 16, Madras 6: The eight-run curse showed up against the Buffs again.
This time it was the Cougars, putting together big scoring outbursts in the fifth and sixth innings. Of those, just half were earned.
Prow gave up 10 runs, but only three were earned in 5 1/2 innings. He also allowed six hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Quinn and Roth suffered the brunt of the damage in the sixth. Quinn was hit for five earned runs, six in all, in just one-third of an inning. He gave up an uncharacteristic four walks and a hit. Roth surrendered a hit and walk before ending the sixth.
Madras had eight hits, proving that number isn't all bad. Ceciliani had two hits including a home run to drive in two runs. That was part of leading 4-0 after three innings.
Albert Adams also had two hits with a run. Prow and Quinn each drove in runs with a hit.