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Madras junior Ayden Holcomb, the team's most prolific everyday hitter, showed his mettle on the mound versus Molalla.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Madras junior Ayden Holcomb, right, has been the team's best everyday hitter so far this season, but he showed off his skills on the mound on Monday, April 25, tossing a no-hitter against Molalla.The Madras baseball team entered the Tri-Valley Conference season with hopes of making it a three-team race alongside North Marion and Gladstone.

Now, after revving up the offensive engine and clamping down the brakes on defense, the White Buffalos have turned around their league record by logging three consecutive wins in impressive fashion.

Madras (9-6, 4-3) split its double-header with Gladstone (11-6, 5-2) on Thursday, April 21, beating the Gladiators 8-7 in the first game before falling 7-1 in the second.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Madras sophomore Noah Vibbert hit a walk-off RBI single against Gladstone on Thursday, April 21, helping the White Buffalos to a split in that series. Madras currently sits behind the Gladiators in the Tri-Valley standings.The highlight of that day, at least from the Buffs' perspective, was a Game 1 comeback that saw the team hang five runs on the Glads in the bottom of the seventh inning. The rally was capped off by Noah Vibbert's walk-off single after Cael White, Dru Boyle and Ethan Graeme all collected RBIs off the Gladstone relief pitchers.

Madras was unable to pull off two comebacks that day, though, falling to the Glads in Game 2 after giving up a big third inning with Graeme on the mound. The bleeding stopped after Boyle took the ball and collected the final four outs without giving up a run; however, the damage was done by that point.

Fortunately for Madras, the sour taste didn't last long.

The White Buffalos were able to reschedule their two games with Corbett on Saturday, April 23. The series was originally postponed due to inclement weather, but the teams were able to get back on track with a weekend double-header in Madras.

Madras made quick work of Corbett (0-10, 0-5) in both games, launching an assault on offense while T.J. Stout threw two outstanding games from the mound. The Buffs won both games by eye-popping scores of 16-1 and 23-0.

In the first game, Stout struck out eight batters while pitching all five innings in a game that was shortened due to the 10-run rule. The senior lasted into the third inning of Game 2, as well, and he helped his own cause with three RBIs at the plate.

Obviously, the offense was in full effect for both games, too. The Buffs' previous season-high scoring output was 18 runs, a mark they set back on March 2 against Ontario. They matched that total after just three innings in Game 2 against the Cardinals, thanks in large part to a 12-run outburst in the second inning.

In addition to Stout's three-RBI game, Cael White, Jackson Hertel, Tyler Clarkson and Jason Allen all knocked in two runs in the second game against Corbett. Hertel and Stout both had multiple RBIs in the first game, too.

Following those nearly flawless victories over the Cardinals, the Buffs took their recent surge another step further in a 12-0 win over Molalla (2-12, 1-5) on Monday, April 25.

Ayden Holcomb — who leads the White Buffalos in RBIs through the team's first 15 games — showed off his skills on the mound against the Indians. Holcomb threw a no-hitter on Monday, going all five innings and striking out four while walking just two batters. He also had an RBI single and scored during the Buffs' 10-run third.

Madras shortstop Conner Flu led the charge at the plate, going 3-for-3 and knocking in two runs. Seven different White Buffalo hitters recorded RBIs in the win on Monday.

As for what transpired on the mound, Holcomb's no-hitter came in his second start of the season, following a five-strikeout performance in a loss to North Marion on April 18. Put together with Stout's impressive outings against Corbett, the Madras pitching staff is showing some good depth. Seniors Reece White and Ethan Graeme lead the team in starts, and both Dru Boyle and Tyler Clarkson have been aces in relief.

If the Buffs can keep up the good pitching — and if they can cut down on the errors that have led to too many big innings for opponents — they will be well on their way to realizing their dreams of running in a three-team race in the Tri-Valley Conference.

Madras travels to Molalla today, April 27, for the second game in the series. The Buffs then play Estacada (6-10, 2-4) on April 28 and May 2.


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