Culver wins a thriller, makes playoffs
After Culver High School made the tough decision to shut down school for a couple of weeks because of COVID, the Culver baseball team lost nearly three weeks of competition.
Culver was victorious over Salem Academy on Friday, April 23, then did not play or practice again until Wednesday, May 12, when they went on the road to face the league champion Kennedy Trojans in a doubleheader. Going into the contest, the Bulldogs were 5-0 on the season, and 4-0 in league. However, the Trojans came into the doubleheader sporting a 12-0 overall record and an 9-0 league mark.
Culver's lack of practice showed as Kennedy blasted the Bulldogs by identical 11-1 scores in both games.
"We were a little rusty, I'm not going to lie," Culver senior Brody Little said. "We actually didn't get any practice for two weeks until warmups for our games with Kennedy."
Senior Dylan Kleinschmit struck out 10 Bulldog batters in four innings of work in game one to propel Kennedy to the easy win, as Culver did not score until the fifth inning.
Game two was more of the same as Culver struggled at the plate.
With the pair of losses, the entire Culver season came down to one game. Defeat Western Christian on Thursday and get a playoff game, lose the game, and the season was over.
Western Christian jumped out on top with a run in the first inning. Culver scored a pair of runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning as Little hit a stand-up triple, Bowen Nelson walked, Logan Macy then singled, which scored Little. Then Nelson scored on a double steal as Macy stole second.
Western Christian took advantage of Culver defensive lapses to score four runs in the third, and added two more runs in the fourth, taking control of the game.
However, Culver refused to quit. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the bottom half of the fourth, on a Macy triple, a pair of walks, a botched pick off attempt and a wild pitch. Culver plated two more runs in the fifth, with both Little and Macy scoring.
Neither team scored in the sixth, and the Bulldogs still trailed by one heading into the bottom half of the seventh inning.
Little started on the mound for the Bulldogs, while Macy came in to relieve him in the fourth, earning the victory.
Little, who went 3-4 on the day, started the inning off with a towering fly ball to right field, which was misplayed by the Western Christian fielder. Nelson was hit by a pitch, then Macy singled, scoring Little to tie the game. Then, Gabe Wilson hit a ground ball to short that Macy was able to score on, giving the Bulldogs an 8-7 victory and at least one more game as they are in the 16-team Class 2A playoff.
Their playoff opener was against Heppner-Ione on Tuesday.
"We had two weeks off and then the first time we threw a baseball was at Kennedy," Little said. "I think it's awesome that we won because it is my senior years, so I just wanted to try to do as much as I can so we can have at least one more game."
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