Bulldogs ready in first-round playoff game, lose in second
Culver won its opening game, but then lost in round two of the OSAA Class 2A/1A baseball playoffs.
The No. 20-ranked Culver Bulldog baseball team was on the road against No. 13-ranked Central Linn May 21, and took care of business during a 13-1 victory in the round one game.
Central Linn (14-6) didn't have an answer against Culver's Cord Gomes on the mound. Gomes pitched five innings for Culver (14-13), holding the Cobras scoreless during his time on the hill.
Tadd Anderson closed out the game on the mound for Culver, securing a first-round playoff victory for the Bulldogs.
Culver was able to hit the ball consistently throughout the game. Culver scored two runs in the first inning, a run in both the third and fourth innings to start things off. They put up three runs in the fifth inning and five runs in the top of the seventh inning.
"We came in and mentally we were ready; the kids were dialed in," head coach Joey Graves said. "The team just flat out hit the baseball and put the ball in play. We had a couple errors, but everyone in the lineup was really just able to hit the ball in play. Cord Gomes threw for us and he was lights out that game."
Joe Russo went 2-for-3 with a single, a triple and two RBIs to lead the Bulldogs at the plate, while Anderson hit a two-RBI triple. Gomes had four RBIs on the day, capitalizing on his time at the plate.
"The team came in and really set the tone during our infield-outfield warm-ups before the game," Graves said. "It was clean and the kids were fired up and hyped for the game."
Facing Umpqua Valley Christian
After the Bulldogs' round one victory, they traveled to Roseburg, facing No. 4-ranked Umpqua Valley Christian (24-3). The strong pitching by Umpqua Valley Christian was too much for Culver as the Bulldogs lost 13-0.
The Bulldogs had a tough time getting the bats going against a solid team, only recording three hits all game.
"They were just a solid team all around," said Graves. "Their pitcher threw really well and had a no-hitter all the way up to the fourth inning, when Joe Russo hit a single. Their pitcher was really effective and threw good."
"Offensively, the table kind of turned on us," he said. "We hit the ball really well game one and game two, Umpqua Valley hit the ball very well."
Russo, Anderson, and Lalo Gutierrez each recorded a hit for the Bulldogs.
Culver made the state playoffs for the second year in a row after not making the state playoffs since 2003.
"Coming into this season I didn't know a whole lot about the players," Graves said. "I was at Redmond, so these schools we played are quite small and there weren't any teams I had seen previously. What a great bunch of student athletes Culver has right now. It was a memorable first year for me, especially being able to make it as far as we did. The success we had this season really shows a lot about these guys."
The Bulldogs will be losing nine seniors next year, but will have some experienced returners next season. Cord Gomes will be the lone senior leader on the team, while Anthony Hood, Brayden Macy and Brody Little will all be returning as juniors next season.
"I am excited for next year," said Graves. "We are losing a big group of kids, but those seniors passed the torch to these young guys stepping up. They are going to be the leaders of our squad next season and I am excited for it.