Tyler Browning is not afraid to take chances.
The Pendleton High School senior broke a three-inning scoreless tie on the way to Hodgen Distributing’s 10-0 shutout Saturday against the visiting Hammertime Legion baseball team of Hockinson, Wash.
The Pendleton victory came on the second day of the Ashlee Hodgen Memorial Tournament at Bob White Field. It was the team’s first win of the weekend-long contest.
Browning’s run came at the bottom of the third inning when he advanced two bases on one wild pitch, putting himself at third — the perfect spot for Curtis Simons to drive him in on a sacrifice fly during the next at-bat.
“I knew I just had to take those risks,” said Browning, who is fresh off a season with the Bucks’ JV team. “(Hammertime’s) catchers are strong players. They were making it hard for us to put up some runs.”
Browning led Pendleton, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. He singled on a 1-0 pitch in the bottom of the third before scoring Hodgen Distributing’s first run of the game.
From there, Pendleton was unstoppable. While Hammertime couldn’t make it home for the duration of the game, Hodgen Distributing scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, and six more in the sixth to call the game early.
“It was all about our pitch selection,” coach Wes Armstrong said. “We just had to wait for those good pitches and drive them in. It’s one of those things we’ve been constantly working on as a team this season.”
Pendleton came to life in the bottom of the fifth when Kyle Field led off with a double. Tucker Zander drove him in with a single two at-bats later, and Simons and Ty Beers would also post RBI singles before the inning’s end.
Field and Beers teamed up on the mound to keep Hammertime scoreless. Field started the game and surrendered just one hit over four innings. He struck out four. Beers threw two innings of relief and got three more strikeouts.
“Ty pitched for us here and there during the varsity season,” Armstrong said, “but we’re definitely going to make him a priority this summer.”
Jordan DeGreer finished the game with a two-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. The hit capped off a six-run inning that gave Pendleton its 10-run advantage.
“We learned what (Hammertime’s) pitchers could throw early on,” Browning said. “That helped us get the bats on the ball.”
Beers went 2-for-4 and scored a run and had two RBIs.
Jaeger Sterlund pitched 4⅓ innings for Hockinson, and notched two strikeouts, but allowed four runs on five hits and one walk.
“Hats off to them,” Armstrong said of Hammertime. “They never quit and they played hard.”
Meridian (Idaho) handed Pendleton a 15-1 five-inning loss Sunday morning. Tanner Sweek went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, collecting two of his team’s three hits.
Pendleton finished the tournament with a 12-8 loss to Baker. Sweek went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs.