>With three wins in five games, the Cowboys move to 4-5-1 on the seasonThe offense gave them the lead and the defense made it stick.
In the home opener of the season, the Crook County High School baseball team took a 6-1 lead against St. Helens Thursday and held off a late Lion comeback to win 6-5. The victory was one of three wins in a five-game home stretch for Crook County dating back to Thursday. The squad moves to 4-5-1 on the season and will open Intermountain Conference play at Hermiston Friday.
Against the Lions, a two-run home run in the first inning by Derek Fitzpatrick sparked an offensive surge by the Cowboys. Fitzpatrick added a two-run single in the second and collected four RBIs before the third inning was even underway. Solid hitting for Crook County was complemented by the pitching performances of John Riley and Kiel Boynton. Riley began the contest on the mound and gave up just one run in the first three innings, while Boynton shut out St. Helens in the last two.
Head coach Mike Lord said he was pleased with his team's performance on both offense and defense.
"We hit the ball very well and I thought John Riley did a tremendous job on the mound," he said.
On Saturday, the squad was in action against Cascade for a doubleheader. In game one, a three for three performance by Boynton at the plate led the way for a seven-run outing by Crook County, but it wasn't enough to hold off a 10-7 Cougar victory.
In the second game of the day, Dan McCabe went two for three for the Cowboys, while Boynton added two singles in the contest.
"We did not play very well defensively," Lord explained about the Cowboys' performance against Cascade Saturday."Out of their 19 runs in two games, 12 were unearned. We gave them way too many runs off our miscues defensively."
On Monday the Cowboys regrouped from the setback against Cascade and scored consecutive wins against Sweet Home in the doubleheader. Two big innings in each game offensively for the Crook County made the difference. The Cowboys scored four runs in the fourth inning of game run and accounted for nine runs in the second inning of game two.
In game one, the Cowboys were led offensively by a two-run home run by Matt Casey.
"We came out swinging pretty well and we played well defensively," Lord said. "We played a full 21 outs and didn't let them back in the game at all."
In game two, Chris McKenzie, who was at the plate for the first time Monday since suffering a broken hand, went three for four in the contest, while Fitzpatrick gave up just two runs in his first five innings on the mound.
"Once again we came out swinging the bats and put up nine runs in the second inning and I thought Fitz threw his best game of the year. He kept them off balance and threw a lot of strikes."
The Cowboys will next face the Bulldogs Friday and Saturday in Hermiston. The non-league matchup scheduled today against Lincoln was canceled.