Cowboys show improvement, but drop three games during the week

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Garrett Layne tags out a Highland baserunner at second during the Cowboys 7-5 loss on Thursday.

The Crook County High School baseball team has dropped three games so far this week. On Tuesday the team traveled to Churchill High School for a doubleheader, falling 8-4 and 10-5 to the Lancers.
   Churchill finished second at state last year and has a solid team again this season, but the Cowboys gave them a battle.
   "I was definitely pleased with how we responded after last week," said Head Coach Chris Felton. "The kids came out and competed. They played hard. We were much more fundamentally sound and we were aggressive at the plate. We had more offensive production and we are giving ourselves an opportunity to win."
   Zach Close pitched the first game of the doubleheader scattering 11 hits over six innings in the loss, while Tyler Gruis pitched the complete second game.
   "Our pitchers threw the ball well," Felton said. "I'm pleased with the results."
   The Cowboys got 16 hits from the top of their lineup in the two games. Cully Stafford went 4-6, Garrett Puckett was 4-7, Mike Haring and Tyler Gruis were both 3-7 and Zach Close went 2-6.
   The team was scheduled to play a doubleheader at Thurston on Wednesday, but the games were rained out. One of the games has been rescheduled for 1 p.m., today at the Crook County High School field.
   In their other game this week the Cowboys played Highland High School from Salt Lake City, Utah. Highland's baseball team travels around the United States each spring break to see different parts of the country and get exposure to different cultural experiences.
   The Cowboys fell to Highland 7-5 for a tough loss in a game that was played at Vince Genna stadium in Bend.
   Crook County left the bases loaded in both the bottom of the fifth and the bottom of the seventh innings.
   "I thought our pitchers came out and threw well," said Felton. "Haring gave us 4 1/3 quality innings and I was real pleased with how Parker Wooldridge came in and threw in relief. Our pitching stepped up. Offensively we got guys on base. We just didn't have opportunity hits to score runs. We did some good things to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game, but in the end we just came up a little short."
   Mike Haring was 2-2 with two walks and three RBI's in the game for Crook County, while Parker Wooldridge also had two hits for the Cowboys.
   The loss dropped the Cowboys to 1-6 on the season with one game remaining before they begin league play at Mountain View on Tuesday, April 1.
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