Life is good for the Astoria baseball team.
There's no deficit that the Fishermen can't overcome, there's no situation that they can't get out of, and whatever button Astoria coach Ralph Steinback seems to push, it comes up a winner.
In the words of both Steinback and assistant coach Wymon Smith, the Fishermen are living right.
"We are living right," said Steinback, whose team has won nine straight games and remains unbeaten in league play (5-0, 13-2 overall). "But you live right because you hustle and you work hard."
The Fishermen were fresh off a 14-inning, 8-5 win at Banks the night before.
"I just love this ballclub," Steinback said. "This ballclub is so gutty. They're scrappers, they work hard and they hustle. And no matter what sport it is, good things happen when you do that."
Some not-so-good things were happening to the Fishermen Thursday, such as the 11 walks issued by starter Luke Ness, and a grand slam home run by the Indians' Dan Klobes in the fourth inning. The bases-loaded blast gave Scappoose a 6-3 lead.
"It was a good pitch, the kid just went down and got it," Steinback said. "But nobody panicked, we didn't pull Luke ... it was a good pitch, why pull him? You have to give the young man from Scappoose all the credit for digging down and grabbing that pitch."
Ness finished the inning and pitched the fifth as well, despite a rising pitch count that ended up at 123.
"Sometimes it's just a gut feeling that you stay with somebody," Steinback said. "When he came out in the fifth inning and hit the first kid, I was real close to pulling him. But I stayed with him, and felt good about it.
"He thinks about so many things up there, and we're trying to get him to just throw the ball," said the coach. "Like I told Luke, I pay him too much money (joking) and I've got too much time invested in him to have him go by the wayside.
"There's no one who works harder in that bullpen than Luke Ness."
Ness finished with 11 strikeouts and 11 walks, and only allowed three hits - none after Klobes' home run.
Trailing 6-3 after four innings, the Fishermen slowly fought their way back.
Sean Fabela had a leadoff double in the fifth, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Henry Brause.
"We had guys saying 'we need four runs or five runs,' and I had to remind them - 'no, we've got three innings. We need to get one here, one here and one there.' And that's exactly what they did."
Actually, it was one here and three there, as the Fishermen took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, which started with a leadoff home run from Steve Hess.
The ball was a laser beam shot over the center field fence and onto West Marine Drive.
"I'll tell you what - that swing was sweet," Steinback said. "It never got too high, and it went straight to center field and hit the middle of the road. It was sweet, it was gone and it was out in a hurry.
"He had a nice trot, too. We don't hit a lot of home runs, so we don't get to practice that a lot."
After a Scappoose pitching change, Astoria's Mitchell Wirth singled to center field and took second on a bunt base hit by Keenan Borgardt.
Pinch-hitter Mike Gallegos was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and the Fishermen took advantage of a Scappoose error to score the go-ahead runs.
Wirth was caught in a rundown between third and home, and when Borgardt advanced to third, the throw to get him sailed into left field, scoring Borgardt and Gallegos.
"It looked like a three-ring circus over here," Steinback said. "I sent Borgardt back, then (Wirth) changed his mind and went for home, so I'm bringing him back, and all of a sudden I'm envisioning two outs, at least.
"Then the ball goes sailing 320 feet into left field, and instead of two outs, we score two runs."
Fabela pitched the sixth and seventh innings for Astoria, retiring the side in order in the sixth, and giving up one hit in the seventh.
"Sean came in and did what we wanted - he threw strikes and let us play defense, and we do that well," Steinback said.
Fabela will start one game of a doubleheader today vs. Rainier at Aiken Field, while Brause is scheduled to start the other.
Bruney to be featuredWarrenton's Brian Bruney will be featured tonight on Portland's Fox channel 12 news.
Adam Bjaranson - a 1988 Warrenton graduate and the anchor of Fox-12 sports - will include a short feature on Bruney in 10 O'Clock news. The story will air at approximately 10:50 p.m.
SoftballRainier sweepsRAINIER - Astoria battled but lost an 8-5 decision in Game 1 of a Cowapa League doubleheader Thursday at Rainier, and the Fishermen simply ran out of steam in the second game, as the Columbians completed the sweep with a 12-0 win.
Astoria had 10 hits off Rainier pitcher Megan Pruitt in the opener, including a double and a triple from Kim Russell; and a home run by Laura Posey in the sixth inning.
The Fishermen trailed 8-2 after four innings before rallying with three runs in the sixth.
The Columbians had 14 hits in the opener, and took advantage of seven Astoria errors in Game 2 to win in five innings.
Cheesemakers sweepTILLAMOOK - The Seaside softball team has made dramatic improvements since the last time the Gulls played Tillamook, but it still wasn't enough to catch the Cheesemakers in a Cowapa League doubleheader Thursday.
The Gulls - who lost 15-2 the last time the two teams met three weeks ago - closed the gap but came up short in both contests, 2-0 and 2-0.
Tillamook's Debra Bohren pitched two complete-game shutouts, allowing just two hits in both contests. She struck out 10 and walked two in Game 1, and struck out five with two walks in the second game.
D.J. Koch and Allie Brady had Seaside's two hits in the opener, while Amanda Laird had both hits in Game 2.
Tillamook had just five hits off Seaside pitcher Kate Ayres in Game 1, four in Game 2.