After a "narrow" escape at Scappoose earlier in the week, the Astoria Fishermen were breathing a little easier following Thursday's rematch at Ernie Aiken Field.
A 5-2 loss to Astoria on Tuesday gave the Indians some hope of competing with the Fish, but those hopes were dashed in the sixth inning of Thursday's game, as the Fishermen racked up eight runs in their last at-bat for an 11-0 Cowapa League baseball win.
Still, the game reminded Astoria players of Tuesday's game, at least through five innings. "In a way it did," said Astoria pitcher Max Johnson, who tossed a six-inning, one-hit shutout. "Scappoose is a very good team, and nothing's ever easy against them. At the beginning of the game, until they brought in the right-hander, it was just like it was (Tuesday)."
Astoria held a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth, but a key component that separates the Fishermen from most other teams in the state - pitching depth - played a factor in the final inning.
While Johnson was cruising right along, the Fishermen finally knocked Scappoose starter Jason Sawyer out of the game in the top of the sixth.
Max Updike replaced Sawyer on the mound with the bases loaded, and Updike walked in a run and balked in another before being replaced by Brandon Bernardi - who didn't fare any better as he walked Dane Lund, gave up a two-run single to Marc Gallegos and a run-scoring double to Johnson.
Ian Erickson put an end to everything with a three-run homer to left-center field for an 11-run lead. Three of Astoria's four league wins have come by way of the mercy rule.
Still, the Indians definitely have Astoria's attention.
"I like their left-handed pitchers (Chris Neifert and Sawyer)," Johnson said. "They will keep you off-balance. The closer games are good for us, I think. Blowing teams out 10-0 every game isn't necessarily the best for us, but playing a team like Scappoose is very, very good for us."
After two scoreless innings, the Fishermen put up three in the third as Garrett Puckett drew a walk, Conor Harber had the game's first hit, and Marcus Brown moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt.
Lund followed with a two-run single up the middle, and Gallegos, Johnson and Erickson all reached on base hits, with Gallegos scoring on Erickson's single to right.
Astoria's hitting can be a deadly disease.
It's "very contagious," Johnson said. "If someone gets the bats going, it's going to be that way for a long inning, and the pitcher's going to have a long night."
On the mound, Johnson gave up a leadoff single in the fifth, but Brown gunned down Austin Egger on a close play at first, and Brandon Bernardi sent a line drive right back at Johnson, who still managed to throw Bernardi out at first for the second out. Johnson struck out Updike to end the inning.
The senior right-hander felt strong "the whole entire game," he said. "Sometimes I had a little hiccup, but that was it, the end of it."
The three Scappoose pitchers gave up 11 hits, including a combined nine in the third- and sixth-inning rallies.
Seaside 11, Yamhill-Carlton 4YAMHILL - Seaside did all of its scoring in two innings Thursday, as the Gulls knocked off Yamhill-Carlton for the second time this week, 11-4.
The Tigers held a 1-0 lead through four innings before the Gulls erupted for six runs in the fifth, and another five in the seventh.
Joel Slovak and Nick Nelson combined on a five-hitter, while Eddie Soller delivered the big hit at the plate with a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning. He finished with four RBIs on the day.
Ryan Sparks had two hits, including a double and three RBIs; Nelson had two doubles; and Slovak added a run-scoring single.
Seaside hosts Banks at 4 p.m. today.
Naselle 17, Taholah 1NASELLE, Wash. - Seven runs in the first inning set the tone as Naselle ran roughshod over Taholah 17-1 in 41/2 innings in a Pacific League game in Naselle Thursday. Chase Chapman was 3-for-3 with a double, Logan Scrabeck was 2-for-3 and Leo Mendoza slammed a pair of doubles.
John Hines and Seth Scrabeck were also went 2-for-2, Larry Johnson and Austin Burkhalter both had base hits and Alan Erickson was 1-for-1 with three walks. Coach Pete Donlon said, "Alan has reached base safely his last 10 times at bat. We hit well against their top pitcher and once we got him out of there we kept rolling."
Leo Mendoza, Logan Scrabeck and Trevin Leeland combined to pitch a two-hitter against the Chitwins. Mendoza and Leeland both struck out four in two innings of work. The Comets are now 3-3 on the season, 2-2 in league. Their game originally set to be played at Quinault Friday was postponed because of transportation problems.