Hermiston senior Jordan Ramirez said he’s never faced a left-handed pitcher in high school baseball.
That goes for the rest of the Bulldogs, and it was quite apparent when they went to the plate April 9 against Southridge lefty Steven Englert.
Englert gave up just two hits and struck out eight as the Suns took the opener of the Mid-Columbia Conference doubleheader 14-0 in Hermiston.
“He is a quality pitcher,” Hermiston coach Kevin Moore said. “One of the better quality ones we will see in this conference. With left-handers, the ball tends to tail away from the hitter. Not only that, he had command of three pitches and we couldn’t make adjustments at the plate.”
The Suns, who won the 3A state title last spring, made a clean sweep of things, taking the second game 12-2 to improve to 8-0 in MCC play and 10-0 overall.
“They have been around the program and they think it is their turn,” Southridge coach Tim Sanders said of his team’s solid play. “They have the confidence to be the next guy.”
Hermiston (1-7 MCC) starter Seth Prewitt was able to hold the Suns to two runs on four hits through two innings, but midway through the third, when he had reached 58 pitches and allowed two more runs, his day was finished.
The Suns would add four more runs to their total in the inning to take an 8-0 lead.
Hermiston went through three pitchers in the opener, but none could shut down the Suns, who finished with 11 hits, and only had two batters strike out.
“Their first guy had a knuckleball, which was interesting,” Sanders said. “They had trouble finding the zone and we were able to execute.”
Leadoff hitter Aidan Morrison went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for the Suns, while Wesley Hickman was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs.
Englert faced the minimum of batters the first two innings, recording six strikeouts. He gave up a single to Rustin Edmiston in the third and another to Ethin Randolph in the fourth, but he kept the Bulldogs off balance, and the Suns’ defense never let a Hermiston runner get past second base.
“He has been in the zone a lot this year, and he lets the defense work for him,” Sanders said of Englert. “And, he had a couple of quality at-bats.”
In the second game, the Bulldogs were able to put the bat on the ball to the tune of eight hits, but managed just two runs.
Southridge continued to pound the ball, getting seven runs in the first inning, and five more in the second for a 12-0 lead.
Kody Bruton earned the win for the Suns, striking out two and walking one.
Nick Grade went 3-for-4 for Southridge — all doubles.
Jordan Ramirez started for Hermiston, but struggled with control. He lasted one-third of an inning, scattering five hits and allowing seven runs.
Spencer Juul led the Bulldogs at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double. Edmiston also hit a double.
“This league is a little different,” Moore said. “Not taking anything away from the Oregon teams, but Tri-City baseball has been pretty dominant for a quite some time. We have seen some pretty good pitchers, and that’s what carries teams.”
WALLA WALLA 3-4, HERMISTON 2-3 — The Bulldogs dropped two MCC game at Walla Walla on Saturday.
Hermiston dropped both games by just one run — 3-2 and 4-3.
The Blue Devils got a head start when Taylor Hamada singled and drove in a run in the bottom of the first inning. Hermiston knotted the score at 2-2 on an error in the top of the fourth, but Walla Walla ran in one more at the bottom of the fifth. They outlasted the Dawgs for the final two innings to stay on top.
Trevor Wagner led the Bulldogs’ offense, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. Gavin Hunter scored Hermiston’s second and final run of the game.
Seth Prewitt sat down just two Blue Devils batters, and surrendered three runs on seven hits over six innings of work.
Game two was off to a slow start as 4½ scoreless innings went by until Walla Walla scored three times in the bottom of the third. Hermiston would even the score at 3-3 in the top of the sixth when Wagner, Landon Jones, and Wyatt Noland all scored.
But it was Ryan Watilo who clinched the second win for the Blue Devils, who scored one final run in the bottom of the sixth.
Spencer Juul allowed three of Walla Walla’s four runs, which were scored off eight hits. Juul also walked five Blue Devils. Landon Jones pitched an inning of relief, allowing two hits and one run