The North Marion baseball team recovered from back-to-back losses to open the month of April by going a perfect 3-0 in league games between rain storms last week.
The Huskies (9-4, 3-1 Oregon West Conference) were able to keep pace with the conference-lead Cascade Cougars (8-4, 4-0) and Philomath Warriors (7-3, 4-0) with strong defense and opportunistic hitting in a 3-0 home win over Newport followed by two wins at Yamhill-Carlton by 8-1 and 7-3 margins, respectively.
The victory over Newport (7-5, 1-3) on April 10 helped North Marion make up for their only league loss of the season, suffered the previous week at the home of the Cubs.
Sophomore Griffin Henry pitched a complete game in the win, delivering the Huskies' only shutout of the season so far by giving up just four hits and striking out nine in seven innings of work.
The two teams split scoreless innings to open the game before North Marion was able to go up 2-0 in the bottom of the third on a two-RBI single from sophomore Nic Iliyn that drove in Noah Vachter and Dylan Doubrava. The Huskies made it 3-0 in the following inning, as senior Tanner Scanlan reached base on a walk and was able to score later in the inning.
Henry and the Huskies were able to hold off Newport for the remaining three innings to come away with their first league victory of the season. Six Huskies picked up hits in the game, with Iliyn leading the way with his two RBIs.
The following day, North Marion took to the road to take on the hosting Yamhill-Carlton Tigers (2-6, 0-4), riding another strong pitching performance to victory in an 8-1 win.
Junior Trevor Ensign got the nod on the mound, and nearly matched Henry's performance from the day before. The lanky lefty struck out eight and held the Tigers to just four hits in a complete game effort.
The two teams split runs to open the game, with North Marion striking first in the top of the second, followed by a solo home run from senior Daniel Miller in the bottom of the frame to match. But the Huskies continued to pour on the offensive pressure, taking a permanent lead in the third and going for four runs in the fifth to take a commanding 6-1 lead. The Huskies added a pair of runs in the seventh for good measure to close out the game strong.
Junior Andy Schmitz and Henry each were 2-for-4 from the plate to lead the Huskies on offense.
In the final game of the week, North Marion returned to wine country to take on the hosting Tigers once again. This time it was the other Henry brother — Grant — who delivered victory from the mound, giving up two runs and striking out six in six innings of the Huskies' 7-3 win.
Unlike the prior two games of the week, the Huskies struck offensive paydirt immediately, scoring two runs in the opening inning and developing a 5-0 lead after the first three before the Tigers answered back on another solo home run Miller in the bottom of the fourth to put the Tigers on the board.
The two teams traded runs for the second half of the game, before Scanlan came in for the final inning. The Tigers were able to ding the North Marion closer for four hits and a run scored, but Scanlan closed out the inning with a pair of strikeouts to preserve the win and pick up the save.
Offensively, the Huskies were led Schmitz, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Vachter was the only other North Marion player with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Vachter and teammate Hunter Schrenk led the Huskies with two runs scored each, while Doubrava led the team with a pair of RBIs in the victory.
The Huskies have a big week coming up, with a home-and-road series against league-leading Philomath, beginning with a home game against the Warriors that was scheduled for Tuesday. The two teams are scheduled to play again on Thursday at Philomath High School to wrap up the week.
North Marion will have the weekend off before playing at Stayton (1-9, 0-4) on April 20.