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The Cowboys are already getting their summertime bats in full swing as Crook County gets back out onto the diamond.

PMG PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Cutter Marsh slides safely into home for Crook County during one of the Cowboys' summer baseball games. The Cowboys' top summer team beat both Caldera and La Pine in games last week.

It seems like the regular baseball season just ended but already, teams are playing summer ball.

The Crook County Cowboys opened the summer season this past week with a pair of victories, defeating Caldera 5-2 on Wednesday, June 8, then edging La Pine 12-9 on Thursday, June 9.

"We are starting to compete," coach Frank Martinez said. "We are being more aggressive on the base paths, and we are hitting the ball good. We are making a lot of mistakes, but that's OK. Right now, a win is a win, and we will take them."

Both games probably should have been easy wins for Crook County, but untimely base running mistakes coupled with fielding errors kept the games closer than necessary.

On Wednesday, the Cowboys jumped on top, as Logan Faust doubled with two outs in the inning, then scored on a second double by Dustin Wilson. The Cowboys scored again in the second inning, with a double by Cutter Marsh and singles by Tyis Yustat and Austin Vaughan leading to three runs in the inning.

Pitchers Gage Martinez and Kody Knudtson kept Caldera off balance for the first three innings of the game. However, Caldera finally got on the board in the top of the fourth inning, then scored a second run in the fifth as relief pitcher Tyson Martinez initially had control problems. However, once Martinez started throwing strikes, the Cowboys quickly ended Caldera's rally. Martinez struck out three in just two innings of work.

Crook County scored an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth, as Faust scored from third on a passed ball. That was all the scoring the Cowboys would need, as Austin Vaughan closed out the game on the mound with a pair of strikeouts in the seventh inning.

The Cowboys were home again on Thursday, and once again came away with a victory. This time, however, the team jumped out to a larger early lead. They should have put the game away under the 10-run rule after just five innings, but leading 12-2, the Cowboys went to their bench. "The wheels just kind of came off," said coach Martinez. "They started just putting the bat out there and hitting the gaps, and we made some mistakes."

Still, Crook County held on for a three-run victory. Thursday, the Cowboys also had a second-team play against Caldera, falling 10-9. It is the first time in several years that Crook County has been able to field two teams for summer ball, though many of the players on the second team are still in middle school.

Crook County has a couple of busy weeks ahead. On Monday, June 13, they played at Redmond. Tonight, June 14, they host Redmond, and then on Thursday, June 16, the Cowboys are back home again against Summit. All three games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

The following week, Crook County will play in a tournament at Bend, before heading out of state at the end of June to play in a tournament in Idaho.


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