LA?GRANDE? Getting to play the hero for his team once would have been exciting enough, but Quentin Quaempts helped save the Hodgen Distributing Red Bulls twice in an innings time against La Grande on Tuesday. A pair of clutch plays lifted the Pendleton American Legion baseball team to a 13-10 victory in the second game of a doubleheader.
With the score knotted at 10-all in the bottom of the seventh inning and a runner on second base, the Red Bulls committed one of their three errors in the game. An errant throw from the left side of the infield sent the ball past the first basemans glove. With the runner hustling for home for the go-ahead run, coach Travis Zander said the entire dugout felt like the game was over.
But right fielder Quaempts started ranging toward the line as soon as the ball was hit, backing up the throw. He scooped up the loose ball and fired a throw to catcher Alex ORourke to gun down the runner for an out and preserve his teams chances in extra innings.
It was a great outfield assist, being where hes supposed to be, being exactly where we coach him to be, Zander said.
In the top of the eighth inning, Quaempts opened up the scoring by stroking a line drive to the outfield to score the go-ahead run. Chad McCoy followed that up with his fourth hit of the game to drive in another two runs.
The Red Bulls (17-14) needed to score a run in the top of the seventh inning just to set up the excitement. ORourke was on second base with two outs when Taylor Hillmick sent a grounder up the middle. The shortstop could only bat the ball down, but then it rolled away from him. Seeing an opening, Zander sent ORourke around third for home to score the tying run.
I was waving Alex the whole way,?Zander said. I took a little bit of a chance there trying to get that run but it paid off because Alex is fast and I knew if he was hustling all the way down the line he was going to score.
Hillmick finished the game 3 for 6 while Ian Rivera also had three hits including a double.
The Red Bulls pitching struggled on the day, and found no bailout in the early game. La Grande captured the first half of the twinbill 15-5.
Hodgen walked nine batters in the second game, equalling its total from the first game where pitchers walked eight and hit a batsman.
Its hard enough to win a baseball game against a good opponent, let alone when you give them nine free passes per game,?Zander said.
Quaempts hit a double in that game and ORourke and Connor Johnson were each 2 for 3.