Baseball: Huskies score win at snowy Sisters after two close losses

Sweet Home baseball (3-10) lost a tightly contested three-game series to Sisters (7-7) last week, but scored a victory in the final game to earn its first league win of the season.

The Huskies are now 1-5 in 4A-3 Oregon West Conference play.

In a cold and snowy doubleheader at Sisters on Thursday, Sweet Home lost the first game 7-8 and fell in the second contest 2-3. The Huskies then bounced back the next day to take a 6-4 win at home.

“We were ahead late in the two losses, and I felt like we kind of lost a good opportunity to win a series or even sweep it,” Head Coach John Best said. “We were in control of that first game, and then they had a four-run sixth inning. That was the deal breaker there. Two one-run losses – that was tough.”

In the first game, Sweet Home scored one run in the first inning, three runs in the third, and one in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. Sisters creeped back with a run in the fourth and another in the fifth to put the score at 5-2, before Sweet Home tacked on two more in the sixth to go up 7-2. But then the home team scored four runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh to steal a comeback victory.

The big four-run sixth inning for Sisters was aided by two walks and two errors committed by Sweet Home. “It’s tough to overcome that,” Best said.

Senior Russ Holly pitched six innings, giving up five earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out six and walking two.

“I thought he threw really well,” Best said of Holly. “He might have gotten a little bit tired late. He gave up a couple hits late and started off with a walk to kind of rally them in the sixth inning, but I thought overall he threw really well.”

Holly also led the team with three hits. Juniors Dylan Luttmer and Kaden Zajic each had two RBIs for the Huskies.

Sweet Home shot itself in the foot in the game with four errors compared to Sisters’ two. The Outlaws outhit the Huskies 10-9.

Sweet Home committed four errors again in the second game of the doubleheader (Sisters had one), but Best thought his squad looked sharper. “In the second game, I thought we played a lot cleaner,” he said.

Sweet Home outhit Sisters 6-3 in the 2-3 loss. Sisters scored one run in the third inning. Sweet Home answered back with two in the fourth, but Sisters scored two in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead.

Zajic pitched six innings for Sweet Home, giving up just one earned run on three hits. He struck out two and walked two. “He did a fantastic job,” Best said. Zajic also had an RBI, along with senior Tucker Weld. Senior Alex Kisselburgh had two hits in the game.

Best said errors again proved crucial in the loss. “We made some uncharacteristic errors. I know we’ve been making some errors all season, but some of these were just things I hadn’t seen before. Balls under gloves, or balls hitting the glove, etc.”

In the final game of the series back in Sweet Home, the Huskies scored one run apiece in the second and third innings and three in the fifth for a 5-0 lead. Sisters scored one run in the sixth and Sweet Home answered back with a run of its own, bringing the score to 6-1. Three runs in the final seventh frame weren’t enough for Sisters, as the game ended 6-4 Sweet Home.

The Huskies outhit the Outlaws 10-9 in the game, and committed two errors while Sisters made none.

Sophomore Huston Holly pitched six innings for the Huskies, giving up one earned run on six hits, while striking out three and allowing five walks. Weld came in for relief and recorded one out, giving up two earned runs on three hits and walking one. Junior Jacob Sieminski recorded the game’s final two outs, striking out one batter while giving up no earned runs or hits. He walked one.

R. Holly had three RBIs on the afternoon and a team leading three hits.

Looking ahead, Best said his team will continue to work on fielding in practice. “We do a lot of defensive stuff,” he said. “We try to incorporate some competition into practice, and try to put them in positions to make them better. It’s hard because we only get two practice days a week, and it’s been raining and raining and raining.”

As far as the bats go, he said “I think for the most part our offense is doing a pretty decent job. We’ve seen some pretty good arms. We’re always preaching consistency, having an approach at the plate, and having an idea of what you want to do.”

“The top half of our order has been doing really well,” he continued. “We’ve been putting the ball in play. And I think we have some good team speed. We’ve been putting some pressure on some teams. But obviously we can do a little bit better.”

Best said that even though the team has lost a lot of close games, “The guys have a good attitude about it and they’re still working hard and trying to get better.”

Sweet Home’s home game against Stayton (12-3) on Monday, April 18 was canceled due to weather. The Huskies are scheduled to play at Stayton on Wednesday, April 20 at 4:30 p.m. They then host the Eagles the next day at 4:30 p.m.