Crook County defeats Redmond Panthers 2-1
The Crook County Cowboys took a giant step toward reaching the state playoffs on Tuesday, edging the Redmond Panthers 2-1 in their final Intermountain Conference game of the year.
"I think they played a really good game," Crook County head coach Kramer Croisant said following the game. "Probably the best game we played all year. Kyle (Knudtson) was sharp on the mound, and we played great defense, and that pitcher (Andrew McKague), he pitched against us in one of the games in the doubleheader we played against them, and he shut us down the first time, so it was good to find a way to get some runs against him."
The Cowboys now have to wait for the outcome of a doubleheader between Redmond and Pendleton that is scheduled for this afternoon in Redmond.
If the Buckaroos win at least one of the games, then Crook County is in the playoffs. If not, their season is over.
"We are going to still have practice Wednesday and Thursday," Kramer said. "Then, we will go to Redmond on Friday and watch those games. We need Pendleton to win one of those two."
The host Panthers took an early lead, scoring a run in the bottom half of the first inning.
However, it was the last run they would get as Knudtson was dominant on the mound. The junior hurler threw a complete game, giving up just five hits, while striking out seven Panther batters.
The Cowboys tied the game in the second inning as Garett Bernard hit a two-out single, stole second, then scored on a Diego Smith single up the middle.
With both Knudtson and McKague throwing great games, neither team scored again until the top of the sixth inning, when the Cowboys finally broke through with what turned out to be the winning run.
Knudtson doubled, went to third on a Carson Smith ground ball to second, then scored moments later on a passed ball.
With Knudtson shutting the Panther batters down, that run was just enough as the Cowboys held on for the win.
McKague threw a great game, giving up just six hits and striking out six in his seven innings of work. However, Knudtson was just a little bit better down the stretch as he threw 103 pitches in the win.
Brody Connell, Louis Duran, Bernard and Diego Smith all had singles for the Cowboys, while Ethan Cossitt and Knudtson both had doubles.
With the win, the Cowboys improved to 15-11 overall and 9-6 in the IMC, while the Panthers fell to 13-8 overall and 7-6 in league.
It is the second consecutive year that the Cowboys are guaranteed to finish their season with a winning record.
Pendleton, which currently has an 11-2 league record, has already locked up the IMC championship, while Hood River Valley has also earned a berth in the state playoffs.
The league's remaining playoff spot will go to either the Cowboys or the Panthers.
Redmond can do no better than match Crook County's league record, but they hold the tiebreaker against the Cowboys as they won two out of three games from Crook County this season.
Should Pendleton win at least one of the two games in Redmond this afternoon, the Cowboys will face a yet-to-be-determined opponent on the road on Wednesday, May 22.
Most likely opponents for the Cowboys would be No. 2-ranked Churchill or No. 3-ranked Crescent Valley, although they could also still possibly play either Thurston or Silverton.
Crook County 2, Redmond 1
Crook County 010 001 0 — 2 6 3
Redmond 100 000 0 — 1 5 0