Munkers HR lifts IHS past Sherman

Irrigon catcher James Munkers, shown here diving into third base against Sherman, went 3-for-3 in the Knights' 3-2 win over the Huskies on Tuesday. Munkers scored two of Irrigon's three runs and hit an eventual game-winning solo home run.

By David Bashore

Herald sports editor

Irrigon — James Munkers went 3-for-3, including the decisive solo home run, in Irrigon's thrilling 3-2 victory over Sherman on Tuesday afternoon.

The victory keeps the sixth-placed Knights (6-8, 5-7 Blue Mountain Conference) in the discussion for the state playoff chase in the BMC as they drew within two games of third-place Stanfield with nine left to play.

Senior fireballer Zach Harris served up a gem on the mound, tossing a complete-game four hitter while striking out 12 Sherman batters.

Munkers reached base to start the game for Irrigon, then scored on a Sherman error to make the score 1-0 after one inning of play.

Shortstop Ben Griffin tripled to deep right-center field in the third inning, then scored on a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze by Frankie Torres.

Munkers followed with a solo blast over the right-center field wall to round out the Irrigon scoring.

Sherman came back with a vengeance and got it within 3-2 heading into the seventh inning.

During that frame, the Huskies got themselves into a situation they wanted, striking fear and worry into Harris and Irrigon coach Erich Harjo.

With runners on first and third and two men out, catcher Elliot Kaseberg — one of the most feared hitters in the BMC — strode to the plate.

Harris got ahead of him but ultimately walked Kaseberg to load the bases, then induced a game-ending ground ball to the next batter.

"I was pretty scared at that point," Harris said afterward. "I had to walk (Kaseberg), and fortunately it worked out."

Harjo said he was pleased with the win, especially since it helped kick-start an end-of-season goal for his club.

"We want to win as many series as we can from here on out," Harjo said. "This gave us two of three (wins) against Sherman, so now we have to go and get the series against Weston-McEwen on Saturday."

David Bashore can be reached at dbashore@ hermistonherald.com.

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