The Devin Oil Hermiston and Heat and Pendleton Pepsi Diamondjaxx thought it would be a good idea to turn back the hands of time Tuesday night.
In a doubleheader where the teams used only wood bats, the two Zone 1 clubs split a pair of close ones. Pendleton took the opener, 3-2, and Hermiston rallied in the final inning to snatch a win in the nightcap, 7-6.
While both games were ripe with dramatic moments, it was Devin Oil's Austin Kopacz that provided the hammer for his club. After working Pendleton pitcher Tyler Stewart to a full count, Kopacz blasted a double to the left field fence, plating Jay Lindeman and Jacob Almaguer to tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh.
After intentional walks were issued to both Tate Gabriel and Tommy Bevington to load the bases, Camran Pollick didn't have to do much to drive in the game-winning run. He drew a walk, giving the Heat a win that snapped a 13-game losing streak.
"It's probably the best hit I've had in a long time." Kopacz said. "I'm just surprised it came with a wood bat."
The teams agreed to use only wood bats over the weekend, and Kopacz said he knew about the plan on Sunday.
Devin Oil head coach Brent Mattson said that while the team was able to work a split from Pendleton, there's one aspect of the game the club needs quite a bit more work on.
"Our baserunning is just all over the place," he said. "We're going to be addressing that in practice. They are mistakes young kids make, but we're 27 games into the season, so we shouldn't be making those kinds of mistakes."
Cole Schwirse and Nychal Gritz both hit singles in the bottom of the seven to help set up the late-inning drama. Schwirse crossed home plate on Almaguer's single.
After Pendleton pushed two runs across in the visitor half of the seventh, it looked like the Heat would repeat what happened in the opener and just not respond. But being able to fight through adversity and come away with a win was huge, Mattson said.
"We needed a win," Mattson said. "A couple of the guys went through the 15-game losing streak in school ball in '09. But, it'll have to wait."
And thankfully so, for Devin Oil, who are now 6-3 in Zone 1 play and in first place. LaGrande isn't far behind at 5-4, and the two clubs will be able to settle their differences Sunday at Shockman Field with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.
With the loss in the nightcap, the Diamondjaxx drop to 4-6 in league play, and half game behind Columbia Gorge who are 4-5.