Bulldogs tested by tough Santiam team
The Culver Bulldogs baseball team had a tough matchup against the No. 6 Santiam Wolverines this week and lost two out of their three games against them.
In the first game on April 16, Culver was at home, but was only able to record one hit the entire game. The hit came from senior Joe Russo in the top of the fourth inning, hitting a ground ball up the middle.
The Bulldogs struckout 15 times as a team, but played a very good defensive game.
Santiam scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the second inning and JD Hakanson drilled a line dive to left field for an RBI double.
Those were the only two scores of the game and the Bulldogs lost 2-0.
"Defensively we played great," head coach Joey Graves said. "Tadd (Anderson) and Cord (Gomes) both pitched well and kept us in that game. The defense backed those two really well; we just really struggled at the plate. That was the big issue and any time you are in a 2-0 game you just hope you can get the bats hot, but that's not always how it goes."
In the second game, the Bulldogs played Santiam April 18 and again struggled at the plate, losing 12-0.
"We limited our strikeouts, but we hit the ball right to guys," Graves said. "Credit to Santiam that hit the ball extremely well."
Russo was the only Culver baseball player to get a hit for the second game in a row.
In the last game of the series, the Bulldogs were able to beat the Wolverines 13-12 in eight innings. The game was supposed to be at at Santiam, but due to weather conditions, it was played in Culver with Santiam being the home team.
Culver took an early 5-0 lead heading into the fourth inning until Culver made a few errors, which cost them some runs.
Santiam battled back and made it a very close ball game heading into the later innings.
The Wolverines and the Bulldogs both put up three runs in the fifth inning, making to score 8-5.
Culver was able to put up one run in the sixth inning, but Santiam put up three more runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Bulldogs put one more run up at the top of the sixth inning, but the Wolverines fought for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 10-10, sending the game to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Culver was able to put up three runs and hold Santiam to only two runs to claim a very close, exciting victory.
Jamal Ortiz had a great game for the Bulldogs, hitting a triple, double and single, ending the night 3-for-5 at the plate.
"The whole team played well," said Graves. "Coming back from a big loss the game before is always tough, but our goals was to at least get one win and we were able to do that. I think we are standing pretty well with the rest of the league. Hats off the Santiam. They are a good ball club and they have a couple good pitchers."
"We just need to play our game and put everything together," he said. "I think we will be right up there in league, battling. The team needs to take care of the little things and put together a whole game. We can learn from mistakes and we can't take any team for granted and play our game to our potential."
Culver hosts Country Christian in a double header at 2 and 4 p.m. Friday, April 26.