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Soph pitcher debuts with win over 4A defending state champs
by: John Brewington SOPH START—Scappoose’s Will Sprute picked up a win over Astoria on Monday night in his first official start on the mound. Scappoose started league with two wins.

It was impressive last summer when Will Sprute threw every pitch in a 7-1 win for the Little League Juniors state championship. His 1-0 shutout Monday of defending 4A state champion Astoria was every bit as stunning in his first varsity starting assignment.

It was a good debut. He scattered six hits and struck out eight. He'd had only a total of eight innings in relief prior to the start.

The end was almost iconic. A talented young starter goes into the last inning with a 1-0 lead. He calmly strikes out the first two batters, and then faces Conor Harber, the 4A Player of the Year and considered by many to be the best athlete in the state. It was a draw. Harber dribbled a hit just to the left side of the pitcher's mound, Sprute scrambled for it, but Harber easily out sped the throw. Sprute then gave up a hit, and Scappoose Coach Robert Medley brought in senior ace Blake Updike to finish up. He forced a long fly foul to right, the catch was made and the game over.

'That was a great performance,' Medley said of Sprute's effort. 'He's got a great mentality to pitch. He wanted the ball at the end and he did fine.'

The full game was another classic match-up between two respectful rivals with a strange twist.

The only run of the game came in the bottom of the third. Leadoff batter Paul Revis hit to short and sped towards first, the errant throw got away from the first baseman and headed down the sideline. Revis danced around first and rounded second, took a look and bolted for third. Another errant throw got by at third and Revis sprinted home. Both teams threatened in the game, but that was the only score.

The Indians started the league season with a game at Astoria, and came away with a 3-1 win.

Astoria scored the first run of the contest in the third when a runner reached base on a fielder's choice and was driven home with two singles.

The Indians knotted the score in the top of the fourth inning. Nathan Kranyak walked, advanced on an error, and scored on a single by Updike.

The Tribe finished off the game in the seventh with two runs. Updike would single and Kyle Kramer would follow by reaching first on a pitching error. After two strikeouts, Josh Ooley hit a shot up the middle that would end up sending both runners home.

The game was pretty much a pitching battle, Medley said. Updike struck out six and gave up just four hits in the game. Astoria's Harber struck out 14 and gave up just three hits.

Medley wasn't happy with the Tribe's 14 strikeouts, but more than happy to get the win.

'Anytime you start league 2-0, no matter who you are beating it's a good situation,' Medley said. 'Any time we play Astoria the last few years, we get after each other. They've won the league the last few years and we've been second. Our kids respect Astoria and they respect us. It's a great rivalry.'

Medley cautions that the season is young. Indeed, Friday's game was just the first home game for Scappoose. The coach feels the league is wide open this year and a lot of hard-fought games to be played.

Medley is not a huge fan of the OSAA power rankings. They give point total (RPI) based on a team's and opponent's winning percentages. Following Monday's games, the Indians were No. 1. With four Cowapa League teams in the top 10, the teams can boost each other's win percentage during league play.

The Tribe was at Banks on Tuesday and host them this Thursday. They host Yamhill-Carlton on April 17.

Scores by innings:

April 9

Scappoose 1, Astoria 0

Astoria 000 000 0-0 6 2

Scappoose 001 000 x-1 3 1

Astoria-Jeremy Poyer and Evan Cain;

Scappoose-Will Sprute, Blake Updike (7) and Nathan Kranyak.

April 6

Scappoose 3, Astoria 1

Scappoose 000 100 2-3 3 2

Astoria 001 000 0-1 4 2

Scappoose-Blake Updike and Nathan Kranyak;

Astoria-Conor Harber and Evan Cain.