Baseball: North Marion advances to semis with 5-0 win over Madras
The No. 2 North Marion baseball team will make its first state semifinal appearance since 2014 after beating the Madras White Buffaloes 5-0 at Bob Brack Stadium on Friday night.
Andy Schmitz and Brady Hansen each had a trio of hits, and starting pitcher Trevor Ensign combined with relievers Milo Bilyeu and Grant Henry to hold the Buffaloes to four hits in the shutout victory.
The Huskies broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the second inning when Schmitz hit a two-out double with runners on first and third to bring home Bryce Lemon.
Junior Nic Iliyn followed, dropping down a bunt to score Noah Vachter. Iliyn beat out the throw to first, allowing Schmitz time to race home for another score to bring the game to 3-0.
North Marion added two more in the bottom of the fourth when Brady Hansen opened the inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt by Sergio Jimenez, who reached base on an error by the Buffaloes.
Vachter hit a sacrifice grounder that scored Hansen and moved Jimenez to second, who went on to make it 5-0 when Schmitz brought him home with a single on the next at bat.
The Huskies would load the bases on a walk by Iliyn and a dropped strike three by Grant Henry, but the Buffaloes were able to get out of the inning without additional damage by getting out the next two batters.
Ensign left the game in the top of the fifth, having given up just three hits and a walk in four and a third inning. Bilyeu came in to pitch the rest of the fifth and the sixth, giving up just one hit, while Grant Henry pitched a flawless seventh for the save.
Schmitz finished 3-for-4 from the plate with a double, two RBIs and a run scored and two stolen bases. Hanson was 3-for-3 with a run, while Iliyn went 2-of-3 with two RBIs and three swiped bags.
The victory moved North Marion (22-4, 10-2 Oregon West) to the semifinals, where they will face the defending champion No. 3 La Grande Tigers (20-3, 12-0 Greater Oregon), who defeated No. 6 Banks (19-7, 11-4 Cowapa) to advance to the semis.
The last time the Huskies and Tigers met in the playoffs was in 2014 when North Marion won 12-3 to advance to the semifinals.
The two teams will play at North Marion High School on Tuesday.