The Bucks baseball team could not have asked for a better way to end their last home game of the regular season.
On Tuesday, Pendleton celebrated senior night with a 6-0 shutout of the bottom-ranked Ridgeview Ravens, defending their title as the Intermountain Conference champions for the second year in a row.
“It’s exciting,” said coach TJ Haugewood. “It’s been a long year. It means a lot with this senior group. They’ve done a good job stepping up and being leaders to the younger players. It was well-deserved.”
Chris Large kept the Ravens away from home, striking out eight and giving up just one hit and one walk along the way over a full game’s work.
“Chris was dialed in,” Haugewood said. “He threw well and really came through to provide that opportunity for his teammates.”
Meanwhile, the Ravens, who finished their season without a single win, struggled on the mound. Evan Hockett walked Gabe Umbarger and Justin Duso to open the game. Ty Beers’ double drove Umbarger home, and Ryan Stahl hit a sacrifice fly to let Duso score and give the Bucks an early 2-0 advantage.
“Ridgeview is young — they have time to grow,” Large said. “I’ve been on the varsity team for the past three years, so it was nothing new to me.”
The Bucks broke the game open in the bottom of the third when Tanner Sweek hit a two-RBI double. Sweek would later score on Matthew Demianew’s single.
Duso would hit an RBI double of his own the following inning, and would score Pendleton’s final run of the night after Stahl singled two at-bats later. The Ravens never made it beyond first base.
“Our hitting was great today,” Duso said. “We got consecutive hits up and down the lineup. That’s something we’ve been working on and building up to all season. It was good to see.”
Beers led Pendleton’s offense with a 2-for-3 showing in the batter’s box, scoring a run and an RBI. Umbarger put two runs on the board, and Duso went 1-for-3 to score a run and drive another in.
Ridgeview’s season may have come to an end without a win, but the Bucks (14-7, 11-2 IMC) are still holding tight to the No. 1 spot in the IMC standings. On Friday, they’ll close out the regular season with a doubleheader on the No. 4 Redmond Panthers’ turf.
“I’m hoping for another home playoff, but this was an incredible way to end our last home game,” Duso said. “This is a great group of guys.”
There’s a big reason why Pendleton couldn’t survive the top-ranked Ridgeview Ravens on Tuesday, and that reason is Allicite Frost. The junior right-hander hurled nine strikeouts to help hand the visiting Bucks a 4-2 defeat to close out IMC play.
“She’s an incredible pitcher,” Bucks coach Tim Cary said of Frost. “She’s the best we’ve faced in the league this year.”
The Bucks watched the game slip away early as they were held without a run for the first five innings. Ridgeview got things started in the top of the second when Sage McVay singled on a 2-2 count to score a run.
Pendleton got one run each from Sami Spriet and Kirah McGlothan in the sixth and seventh innings, but their rally fell short.
But the Bucks (16-9, 9-6 IMC) still remain the third-ranked team in conference play, and have already locked in their spot in the playoffs.
On Friday, they’ll finish the regular season with a nonleague matchup against the Greater Oregon League’s No. 1-seeded La Grande Tigers, who are undefeated in conference action, and have only suffered one loss this season.
“We had a good second half of the season,” Cary said. “Now that we’ve found consistent pitching, we’re a much tougher team. We plan on making a strong run through playoffs.”