PENDLETON — Second base saw plenty of Nic Sheley on Tuesday.
During a home doubleheader against the Boise-based Idaho Cubs, he notched three doubles to help Pendleton’s Hodgen Distributing to a 12-6 win in game one, and a 5-2 victory in the closer.
According to Hodgen Distributing coach Travis Zander, Sheley is more than just a force at the plate.
“He’s been hitting really well for us,” Zander said, “but the best thing he adds to this team is innings on the mound. He’s solid in relief pitching. We haven’t started him much this season, but we will. He’s a great addition to the program.”
Sheley finished the opener with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate and scored a run along with two RBIs. An incoming junior transfer from South Albany High School, he got his first hit off a single in the bottom of the second inning and made it to third on two consecutive wild pitches. He was left stranded before he could cross home plate, but he got his chance to do so two innings later.
The Cubs grasped the lead in the top of the third thanks to Kaden Brown’s two-RBI single, but Pendleton rallied back with eight runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the game away.
Ty Beers led off with a single and stole second and third, leaving it open for Sheley to double and drive him in on the next at-bat.
“That was important,” Sheley said of his hit. “It didn’t necessarily make things easier, but it definitely relieved some stress.”
Kobe Fell also posted an RBI-double in the same inning. Grayson Clarke sent a double to left field that drove in two more runs.
Idaho’s Zach Merritt homered over left field in the top of the sixth, and Dylan Guerrero got an RBI-double in the seventh, but Pendleton had already pulled too far ahead.
Pendleton ended the game with 14 hits and only two errors. Meanwhile, the Cubs totaled seven mistakes.
Fell, Tyler Browning, and Cooper Roberts each put up two runs.
“We had a ton of great at-bats and some good fielding,” Sheley said. “From what I saw, Idaho is a pretty coachable team. They’re aggressive when it comes to base running.”
The Cubs kept things closer in game two.
They were the first to score when Sonny Altamirano drove a run in on a double in the top of the first. Sheley evened things out one inning later with another double that sent Colton Henderson home.
Pendleton stayed locked in a 1-1 tie with the 16U Idaho team for the following two innings.
“They come from a lot of different high schools in the Boise area,” Zander said. “They like to play up.”
Sheley led off the top of the fifth with his third and final double. Browning drove him in two at-bats later, and scored on Kyle Field’s sacrifice fly to center field to cap off the three-run inning.
It was enough to keep Pendleton in control for good.
“It’s a team we should beat every time we play them,” Zander said. “I’m glad we did. It’s always nice when the kids do what they should. There are no extra kudos here.”
Henderson benched four Idaho batters over the first five innings of game two, allowing just one run. Sheley threw two innings of relief, and tallied two more strikeouts. He also went 2-for-3, scoring a run and an RBI.
Starting on Friday, Hodgen Distributing (6-6-1) is on the road to Baker City for a weekend- long tournament.