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Inexperience has led to mistakes, and losses, for Crook County High School baseball team

LON AUSTIN - Mitch Warren goes all out to make this diving catch for the Cowboys. The Cowboys lost a pair of games to Hood River last week, and also list a tile against Summit. The squad fell to 0-6 on the season. They play a doubleheader at Redmond Friday.

The Crook County High School baseball team is struggling.

In 2019 the Cowboys reached the state playoffs. The future looked bright with a solid group of seniors returning for the 2020 season, including the team's top pitchers.

However, the 2020 season never happened. Those experienced players are gone, and the new group of players did not get any games in 2020. Adding to the problems, the team's head coach resigned following the 2019 season and the Cowboys have a different head coach this spring than they had for the few games they played last fall.

The result is the team is making little mistakes that are leading to extra runs for their opponents.

This week was more of the same as the Cowboys dropped a trio of games by lopsided scores.

Tuesday, the Cowboys traveled to Hood River to take on the Eagles in an Intermountain Conference game which saw Hood River Valley take a 9-3 victory. Saturday, the Cowboys played the Eagles again, this time coming out on the short end of a 14-2 game. Then, on Saturday afternoon, Crook County hosted Summit and lost 16-2 to the Storm.

In all three games, Crook County errors and defensive mistakes, such as throwing to the wrong base, or not getting the ball in from the outfield quickly enough, led to extra runs for their opponents.

Tuesday, Hood River Valley scored four runs in the first inning. Crook County tried to rally, scoring a pair of runs of their own in the second inning. However, the Eagles scored four more runs in the bottom half of the second to push their lead to 8-2. Neither team scored again until the sixth inning when Hood River Valley added an insurance run. Crook County scored one final run in the top of the seventh inning, but it was too little too late as Hood River Valley took the win.

Crook County had seven hits in the game, compared to eight for Hood River Valley. Tyis Yustat went 3-3 at the plate for Crook County while Hayden Foreman went 2-3. Austin Vaughn and Tyson Martinez had the team's remaining two hits.

Saturday, Hood River Valley exploded for six runs in the top of the first inning, four of them unearned as the Eagles took a big early lead. Hood River Valley added a run in the second and one in the third to push their lead to 8-0. The Cowboys finally scored in the bottom of the third as Yustat reached base on an error, then scored on a single by Clayton Dill. Matt Delapena doubled later in the inning, but both Delapena and Dill were stranded when the Cowboys were unable to string hits together.

Hood River Valley took advantage of Crook County miscues again in the fourth inning as they scored six more runs to put the game away. Crook County added a final run in the bottom of the fourth inning as Benny Allen walked, went to second on a sacrifice by Mitch Warren, then went to third on an infield single by Yustat. Yustat then stole second and Allen went home on the double steal as Hood River Valley's catcher threw the ball to second.

When neither team scored in the fifth inning, the game ended due to the 10-run rule.

Hood River Valley finished with 11 hits in the contest to just four for the Cowboys.

After Hood River Valley and Summit played, with the Storm coming out on top 6-3, Summit and Crook County played in the nightcap. The Storm scored three in the first inning and five in the third to take control of the game. Crook County scored a run in the fourth to move the score to 8-1. Summit added two runs in the sixth to push their lead to 10-1. Crook County scored a second run in the bottom half of the inning, before Summit scored six runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

Summit batters blasted 17 hits in the game including five doubles and a home run, while the Cowboys could only manage three hits, one each by Foreman, Warren and Delapena.

With the loses, Crook County falls to 0-6 on the year and 0-4 in league play. Meanwhile, Hood River Valley improved to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in league, while Summit improved their record to 5-2.

The Cowboys host Mountain View in a non-league contest on Tuesday beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Cowboys then go on the road on Friday for a double header at Redmond with games scheduled to start at 3 and 5 p.m.

Crook County 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 – 3 7 4

Hood River Valley 4 4 0 0 0 1 X – 9 8 2

Hood River Valley 6 1 1 6 0 – 14 11 1

Crook County 0 0 1 1 0 – 2 4 5

Summit 3 0 5 0 0 2 6 – 16 17 1

Crook County 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 – 2 3 4


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