Freebies help Junction City to baseball win over Huskies

Sweet Home’s baseball team is still searching for its first win after a 14-8 home loss to Junction City on March 22.

The Huskies (0-3) were hampered by walking or hitting 12 Tiger batters.

“We just keep putting guys on base that don’t need to be there, and then a hit kills us,” said Head Coach John Best.

“That was their recipe for success. We need to really clean up how many free bases we’re giving. That’s our big thing that we need to work on.”

The Tigers (1-2) were up 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Sweet Home first got on the board with a Jon Holly double that scored Kaden Zajic. The hit came after a thirty minute lightning delay in the top of the same inning.

Junction City struck back, however, with four runs of its own in the top of the fifth to go up 7-1. Sweet Home matched their inning total in the bottom of the frame though, narrowing the score to 7-5 Junction City. Jacob Sieminski doubled to score Dylan Luttmer and Daniel Goodwin, Zajic hit a sacrifice fly to score Sieminski, and Kelso Ellis singled to score Lewis Conn.

Junction City put up two runs in the top of the sixth. Sweet Home scored one in the bottom of the sixth when Goodwin hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Trenton Smith. With the score 9-6 Junction City, the Tigers scored five runs in the top of the seventh to go up 14-6. Sweet Home scored two more runs in the bottom of the frame. Holly ground into a double play, scoring Casey Valloni, and Smith reached on an error, scoring Zajic. But the late push wasn’t enough, as Goodwin hit an infield pop-up to end the game.

Holly started the game on the mound for the Huskies, pitching four innings and allowing four runs on four hits, striking out one and walking five. Ellis came in in relief to pitch two innings, giving up five runs on four hits, striking out two and walking four. Kayden Gutierrez pitched one inning, giving up five runs on two hits, walking three.

Luttmer led the team with two hits.

Junction City outhit the Huskies 10-7. Sweet Home didn’t commit any errors on defense, while Junction City committed four.

Despite the loss, Best said “I thought that our guys played really well, especially offensively. I think our guys are making a lot of progress.”

He went on to say that “I think that we were a little bit more aggressive at the plate and were just trying to put the ball in play a little bit better. It’s something we worked on at practice. I think the guys are starting to be a little more comfortable at the plate. Even when we were getting out I thought we were having really good quality at bats. I thought we saw their pitcher really well, and our strikeout numbers were way lower.”

Of Junction City, the coach said “They have a good offensive club. They’ve had one for years.”

But he noted that the Tigers didn’t beat the Huskies with big hits. “They had a solo home run in the second (inning), but other than that it was just a handful of singles,” the coach recalled.

Sweet Home’s games at Sisters on March 24 and at Mazama on March 27 were canceled. This week, the Huskies take on 3A North Valley (2-2) at 1 p.m. and Phoenix (1-3) at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 at Colver Field in Talent.

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