PENDLETON — Hodgen Distributing’s final home appearance of the season may have ended in a split on Tuesday, but Ty Beers played some of the best ball he has all summer.
The incoming Buckaroo junior hit two home runs, hit 7-for-9, and scored five runs and five RBIs during the Pendleton 17U legion team’s doubleheader against the visiting Mt. Spokane Wild. His performance helped his team to a 9-8 win in the opener, but couldn’t save them from dropping game two, 15-7.
“Ty’s great,” Pendleton head coach Wes Armstrong said. “He’ll occasionally go through some inconsistencies, but what you’re seeing from him now is what we got from him during the last half of the high school season. He’s a strong hitter.”
The Wild was quick to bring the firepower with a three-run lead in the top of the first inning, but catcher Blake Swanson notched a two-RBI single in the bottom of the inning that helped Pendleton catch up. It would secure his perfect 1-for-1 showing in game one — he drew a pair of walks as the game progressed.
With two outs on the board, Nic Sheley loaded the bases with a single, allowing him to knot the score at 3-3 off Kyle Field’s shallow ground ball to shortstop.
Lance Wolf struck out to close the inning before Pendleton could pull ahead.
Buckaroo fans in attendance for Tuesday’s twin bill saw a familiar face on Pendleton’s mound in the first four innings of game one — the recently graduated Chris Large. Large may have coughed up seven runs off nine hits, but tallied four strikeouts, including two back-to-back to keep Mt. Spokane runless in the top of the second.
The Wild were also held to just one run in the following inning, where Swanson tagged a runner out at home to keep Jon Busch’s single from driving in two runs. Large got another strikeout to finalize the inning.
Beers’ homer came on a 3-1 pitch in the bottom of the fourth, rocketing over the center field fence, allowing Pendleton to catch up to Mt. Spokane, 7-5.
“It just kept us close,” Beers said. “We needed to get back up top. (Mt. Spokane’s) pitching was spot-on today. You had to fight for those hits.”
With Hodgen Distributing trailing 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh and two outs on the board, Cooper Roberts sent a 2-0 pitch flying into right field that scored Beers and Nat Hunsaker to clinch a narrow walk-off win.
“They’re tough to hit against, to be perfectly honest,” Beers said of the Wild. “It’s battling. It’s staying focused and relaxed.”
Beers went 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs in game one. Curtis Simons followed, scoring two runs and an RBI off a 1-for-2 performance.
But Mt. Spokane wouldn’t allow a repeat, jumping out to an 8-4 advantage by the end of the third inning in game two.
Swanson and Beers each tackled two innings on Pendleton’s hill, but neither could tame the Wild — Swanson gave up five runs and two walks, and Beers three runs and three walks.
Field put in 2⅓ innings of relief, but gave up seven more runs before Tucker Zander took over.
“It was our pitching,” Armstrong said of Mt. Spokane’s early lead. “If you can’t throw strikes, it’s going to be a tough game.”
Beers was able to tie things up at 2-2 in the bottom of the first with his second homer that soared over right field, but the Wild was quick to bury Pendleton in response.
By the game’s end, the Wild collected 14 hits while Pendleton was close behind with 13, but their seven errors made it difficult to come back.
Beers was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs to lead Pendleton once again, but the Wild brought a selection of solid hitters to stay ahead.
Jaxon Davis went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, Jose Renteria scored a run and drove in three more, and Zane Baker put up two runs and an RBI.
“They’re just a great team,” Armstrong said of Mt. Spokane. “They have plenty of great hitters in their lineup.”
Up next, Hodgen Distributing will hit the road to Walla Walla for a four-day tourney. Their first game is at Borleske Stadium against the Washington Rush on Thursday at 8 p.m.