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Indians survive bad weather, tough competition, long road trips, improve to 5-2

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Scappoose senior pitcher J.C. Gross pitched a complete game in his team's 4-3 loss at Newport on March 24.The worst is probably over for the Scappoose baseball team.

The worst weather, that is.

Over the past week, the Indians played in cold and wet and "miserable" conditions, coach Mike Reed said, winning three of four games on the road.

The victories were these — 11-6 in eight innings at Sweet Home, 25-2 against Marshfield on the turf field at Newport, and 10-4 at Stayton.

The team's lone loss, a 4-3 setback at Newport, came in what Reed calls "a playoff-like atmosphere" against the host Cubs.

Those four results put Scappoose's record at 5-2 going into Saturday's 2 p.m. contest at North Marion (the Indians were also scheduled for a Thursday doubleheader at Central on Thursday after the Spotlight's press deadline).

The weather for the Indians' March 23-24 games in Newport "wasn't pretty — everybody wanted to go home after one inning — but we got the games in," Reed said. "But chances are that's the worst we'll see this year. At least now we know how to throw a wet ball."

Along the way, the Indians spent two nights in motels, one in Lebanon and one in Newport.

"The kids just wanted to sit in their rooms and warm up," Reed said.

The Newport game also was memorable for its on-the-field action. Scappoose went up against one of the top pitchers in Class 4A, 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior Jacob Dobmeier, who had 12 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

"He throws extremely hard and has a great curve," Reed said, noting that his team did manage seven hits in 28 at-bats against the Cubs (as well as 14 strikeouts — two versus reliever Kye Blaser), "so I told our kids that when we did swing the bats, we were 7 for 14."

Newport got one run in the first inning and three in second, thanks largely to Scappoose errors, including a poor throw to first on a second-inning bunt.

"We didn't have the right coverage and just made a mistake," Reed said.

The Indians scored twice in the first inning and made it a 4-3 game on Gavin Larson's fourth-inning sacrifice fly.

But, "with that kid (Dobmeier) on the mound, Newport can beat anyone in the state," Reed said, and the Cubs held off Scappoose over the final three frames.

On the mound, Indians senior J.C. Gross went the distance, striking out seven and scattering six hits and four walks. He didn't give up an earned run. Four of those six hits came on a pair of bunts and two infield hits, Reed said.

The Indians bounced back Monday at Stayton, taking a 4-0 lead after one inning and building it to 10-1 before the Eagles took advantage of some errors to score three times in the sixth.

Reed used all 16 of his players in the Stayton game.

The Eagles made six errors.

"We had 11 hits, and the errors all came on balls that were hit pretty hard," Reed said.

Sophomore Ben Anicker started on the mound against Stayton and got the win, allowing four hits and one run in five innings while striking out nine.

The Sweet Home game on March 22 also had the intensity of a playoff battle, Reed said. Scappoose led 4-0 and 5-1 before the home team tied the score 5-5 with four runs in the fifth. The Huskies went ahead 6-5 in the sixth, but the Indians tied it on Carson Witt's two-out single in the seventh.

Another huge play by Scappoose came in the bottom of the seventh when a Sweet Home runner stole second, but moments later, was thrown out by catcher Nicky Gill trying to steal third.

Then, in the eighth, the Indians broke loose on offense.

Michael Reed led off with a double, and Jordan Buchanan and Jerad Toman followed with bunt singles. After Sweet Home walked in two runs, the Indians padded their lead with a two-run single by Logan Travis and a hit by Terrence Lewis.

Witt homered against the Huskies.

"He just killed one that went out of a pretty big park in dead air," coach Reed said.

The victory over Marshfield featured 14 hits from the top four batters in the Scappoose order. Three other Indians got their first hit of the year, with Jessie Porter whacking a bases-loaded double.

Scappoose's top hitters in those four games included: Toman (10 for 16, three RBIs), Gross (8 for 15, seven RBIs), Gill (7 for 17, nine RBIs) and Travis (5 for 13, five RBIs).

Next for the Indians is a trip to North Marion for a 2 p.m. Saturday nonleague game. Earlier this week, North Marion was 7-1 and ranked No. 1 in 4A by the OSAA.

"We beat them 5-1 there last year, so they'll be fired up for us," Reed said.

Then it'll be time for Cowapa League play. Scappoose's first league game is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Astoria. The Fishermen are scheduled to play at Scappoose at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Overall, Reed said he likes what he has seen from his club.

"We've been swinging the bats well, and the bottom part of our lineup has carried us at times," he said. "Our ERA is down, though we're still walking too many guys. That's a work in progress, (but) our pitching staff is deeper than it has been."

Gross and Travis, a sophomore, head the staff, but junior Breeler Mann and sophomore Anicker also are key cogs.

"J.C. and Travis are like 1A and 1B," Reed said, "but Breeler, our little left-hander, has even better numbers and has done a great job, and Anicker gives us four quality starting pitchers, a luxury at the 4A level."

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