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Anicker efficient on mound at Putnam, but defense trips up Scappoose in OIBA road game

COURTESY PHOTO: JOHN BREWINGTON - Tyler Souvenir of Scappoose gets tagged out at home trying to score from second base on an Andrew Darco single in a Wednesday home game against Hillsboro-Forest Grove.Putnam had the upper hand Tuesday in an

Oregon Independent Baseball Association game against Scappoose. The Kingsmen beat the

Indians 12-1 in six innings.

As both teams' pitchers and fielders battled the rain, the Kingsmen took advantage of some Scappoose defensive mistakes to put up four runs in the second inning, one run in the fourth, five runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth.

Despite allowing a dozen runs, the Scappoose pitchers attacked the zone and forced Putnam to beat them. The Indians allowed just one walk, which didn't come until the bottom of the fifth.

Scappoose starting pitcher Ben Anicker pitched four innings and gave up only one earned run (along with five unearned). He threw 63 percent of his pitches for strikes and had one strikeout with no walks.

"Ben did a great job of being efficient, working fast and getting a lot of soft contact on balls in play," Scappoose coach Cameron Webb said. "He pitched well enough where we could have been in the game."

After a scoreless first inning, Putnam's Jayden Junta started a rally with a one-out double. He scored two batters later on an error by first baseman Michael Bates. After a couple more defensive miscues, Putnam left the inning with a 4-0 lead.

The Indian pitchers did a good job at forcing Putnam to hit the ball. The fielders, on the other hand, made some errors that didn't just give Putnam extra bases but gave them extra at-bats, too.

"We just talked to our guys about making sure that one error doesn't turn into four and that we can continue to trust ourselves and not think that one play ever defines us," Webb said. "Those are all things we can adjust."

Although the defensive mistakes played a hand in the 12 runs allowed, players such as center fielder Jake Bernhard, catcher Tyler Souvenir and left fielder Malcolm Harrison drew praise from Webb for their hustle while backing up plays.

Souvenir, in particular, had a strong game behind the dish. In the fourth inning, the incoming sophomore threw out a would-be base stealer by a good amount. Webb credited Souvenir's effort this summer and said he sees him as one of his most improved players.

"Tyler Souvenir has been working really hard," Webb said. "I've been really impressed with him. He's made some pretty great strides behind the plate."

Offensively, Bernhard had one of two hits for the Indians. The No. 2 hitter scored Scappoose's lone run when Brett Krieger singled him home in the fourth inning.

Krieger was thrown out at second trying to advance on the throw, but attempting to take the extra base was a good sign for Scappoose, according to Webb.

"One thing we've been working on is to make sure we're putting pressure on the other team with our hustle on the bases and going all out for every ball," Webb said. "If we're making mistakes at all, it's an aggressive mistake."

On Wednesday, Scappoose was back home to take on Frye's Action Athletics, a team comprised of players from Hillsboro High and Forest Grove High. The Indians were within 3-0 through four innings before losing 13-1.

Scappoose had one eye on its upcoming three games in this weekends Columbia River Tournament, hosted by Columbia River High in Vancouver, Washington.

"We wanted to save our arms for that tournament, so we had a bunch of guys pitch just one or two innings today," Webb said after the game against Frye's.

Krieger, Jack Duschka, Bates, Noah Packineau and Bernhard took the hill for the Indians.

Webb called it "a bit of a lackluster game," with highlights including two double plays turned by Scappoose and two runners caught stealing by catcher Andrew Darco, who was behind the plate as a freshman on the junior varsity last spring.

"He's one of the hardest-working kids I've ever known," Webb said of Darco.

Scappoose scored in the sixth inning, when Bernhard beat out an infield hit, stole second, went to third on a ground out and came home via a wild pitch.

Bernhard was 2 for 3 in the leadoff spot for Scappoose, which had four hits to 13 for Hillsboro-Forest Grove.

The Indians' first Columbia River Tournament game is 5:30 p.m. Friday against Lincoln. Scappoose also will play one game on Saturday and one on Sunday, with opponents and times to be determined.

Then comes the final week of the regular season (with a spot in the state playoffs still a possibility).

On Tuesday, July 16, the Indians will be at home at 6 p.m. against Banks.

An OIBA league game against Reynolds is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, July 20, with the teams playing a nonleague nightcap immediately after that.

Scappoose is scheduled to play at La Salle Prep on Monday, July 22, and another game with Hillsboro-Forest Grove could be added to the calendar, Webb said.

Whether the Indians win or lose each summer game is not the most pressing issue, the coach said. What's most important is that the young players improve their game and learn how to avoid mistakes in preparation for fall and spring ball.

"I think the big thing this summer is keeping things in perspective, and knowing that we're out here to work on things and get better," Webb said. "It's not so much about the win-loss total this summer, but making sure we're learning from everything that doesn't go our way."

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