CCHS playoff hopes dim with loss to Pendleton
The Crook County Cowboys saw their playoff hopes take a big hit on Tuesday, as Pendleton rallied late to take a 9-7 extra-inning victory over the host Cowboys.
"It was disappointing to lose the lead, but they definitely hit the ball around, and we didn't have any errors, so props to them," Crook County catcher Brody Connell said following the game.
The day couldn't have started better for the Cowboys.
Early in the afternoon, the two teams resumed play from a game that had been started earlier in the season in Pendleton. Play was suspended at the end of three innings with the Cowboys leading 9-3.
Clayton Wilkens took the mound to start the fourth inning and pitched the final four innings of the game, scattering eight hits and allowing two runs.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys scored a run in the fifth and added insurance runs in the sixth and seventh as they cruised to a 12-5 win.
Kyle Knudtson had pitched the first three innings of the game in Pendleton, allowing just two hits and three runs, all unearned.
Crook County finished with 12 hits in the contest with Carson Smith going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles. Garett Bernard and Knudtson also had good games at the plate, going 2-for-3 and 2-for-4, respectively.
Ethan Cossitt finished the game with three RBIs, while Bernard had two, and Wilkens added a double and one RBI.
"It was huge to get that win," Connell said. "We have to beat every team at least once, so that was a good step forward in the right direction."
Following a half-hour break, the two teams took the field again for the regularly scheduled game, and once again, the Cowboys took control early.
Crook County scored three runs in the bottom half of the first inning to break out to a big early lead.
Batting leadoff, Connell singled to right. Hunter Bishop then put down a perfect bunt, putting runners on first and second before Knudtson ripped a triple to deep right field, scoring a pair of runs. Knudtson then scored on a Smith single just over the second baseman's glove.
With Justin Smith throwing strikes on the mound, that's how the score stayed until the fifth inning, when the Cowboys once again got on the board.
This time, Bishop reached base on an infield single, stole second base, then tagged up and went all the way from second to home on a long fly out from Carson Smith.
Leading by four runs, it looked like the Cowboys were on their way to a win.
However, Smith began to have control problems in the sixth inning, walking a pair of runners and giving up two hits before he was replaced on the mound by Diego Smith. The Pendleton onslaught continued as Smith gave up two singles and a double, without getting an out.
Smith was quickly replaced on the mound by Louis Duran, who gave up two more hits before the Cowboys were finally able to get out of the inning.
Pendleton finished the inning with seven hits and a pair of walks, driving in seven runs as they rallied to take a 7-4 lead.
However, the Cowboys found a way to get back into the contest in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs and a runner on first, Connell singled to left. Bishop then doubled, scoring a pair of runs for the Cowboys. Bishop then went to third when the cutoff man failed to handle the throw from the outfield cleanly. He later scored on a wild pitch, tying the game at seven apiece.
That's the way the score stayed in regulation.
Then in the top half of the eighth inning, Duran hit the first batter he faced. A single to center put runners on first and second with nobody out.
The next Pendleton batter then hit a ground ball to first. It was an easy out for the Cowboys, but moved baserunner to second and third.
The Buckaroos then attempted a suicide squeeze bunt, and it worked to perfection as one run scored and everyone was safe on the play.
Crook County fielders probably could have gotten an out on the play, but they waited, hoping that the ball would roll foul, and it finally rolled dead just inside fair territory.
With runners on the corners, the Cowboys replaced Duran with Knudtson on the mound.
Knudtson struggled with control, throwing a wild pitch that allowed the second Pendleton run of the inning to cross home plate. While Knudtson was covering home, the Pendleton baserunner sprinted from first to second, then headed for third. Knudtson threw the ball toward third, but instead, it ended up going into left field.
An alert Cossitt quickly ran the ball down and threw a strike to the plate, where Knudtson tagged the Pendleton runner out for the second out at home.
Following a walk and another wild pitch, the Cowboys finally got out of the inning, but the damage had already been done.
With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, the Cowboys attempted to rally.
Trentyn Maryanski singled to left field, then Connell singled to right, putting runners on the corners.
However, the game ended as Bishop hit a towering pop up, which was caught by Pendleton's pitcher just in front of home plate.
Connell had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-5, while Bishop was 2-for-5 with a double. Bishop, Knudtson and Carson Smith each had two RBI's in the game.
The loss left the Cowboys tied with The Dalles for fourth place in the IMC with a 4-5 league record. Crook County is 10-10 overall on the year.
Meanwhile, Pendleton improved to 5-2 in league and 8-7 overall.
The Buckaroos are tied with Redmond for second place in the conference.
The Cowboys play a doubleheader at The Dalles today. With just three teams from the IMC qualifying for post-season play, that makes the games with The Dalles must wins for Crook County if they wish to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Crook County 12, Pendleton 5
First three innings of game were played in Pendleton on Saturday, April 13. Game was suspended due to weather and resumed in Prineville on Tuesday, April 30
Crook County 315 011 1 — 12 12 2
Pendleton 201 100 1 — 5 10 5
Pendleton 9, Crook County 7
Pendleton 000 007 02 — 9 13 1
Crook County 300 013 00 — 7 9 0