The Bucks couldn’t recover from an early deficit to Sandy, but followed up with a rally for redemption against Putnam in a doubleheader on Tuesday.
In day two of the Red Lion Buckaroo Classic, the Pendleton baseball team dropped the first game to the Pioneers 4-2, but sophomore Tucker Zander’s RBI single at the bottom of the seventh ended the day with a 6-5 victory over the Kingsmen.
“We were mentally ready for game two,” said sophomore Ty Beers. “That first loss motivated us to get better and fix what we needed to.”
With senior Ryan Stahl on the mound in the first inning, Pioneers senior Trent Hoyle walked to first, and then advanced to third on two steals. Junior Quinnton Reilly would drive him home, and junior Christian Olmos’ two-RBI single would give Sandy a lead they would not relinquish.
Bucks junior Tanner Sweek doubled in the fourth inning, and sophomore Curtis Simons drove him in for their team’s first run. At the bottom of the seventh, senior Gabe Umbarger ran home on a wild pitch.
“We got things going in the seventh inning,” Umbarger said, “but at that point, it was already too late for us.”
Stahl struck out five Pioneers compared to Sandy pitcher Tanon Mein’s three, but it was the Pioneers’ swift offense that got the best of the Bucks.
“They have a solid lineup,” Umbarger said of Sandy.
In game two, the Kingsmen took an early 1-0 lead off of sophomore Austin Keel’s RBI at the top of the second.
The Bucks responded by beefing up their defense as junior pitcher Cooper Roberts struck out three in the fourth inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Umbarger and senior Justin Duso would walk, and Beers would drive them home on his game-changing two-RBI double to push the Bucks ahead 2-1.
“We were ready for them,” Beers said of Putnam. “Their pitching was decent. It made it easy to get those hits. We needed those runs.”
But Putnam pulled ahead again in the sixth inning. Sophomore Travis Varner hit an RBI double, then made it home on an error.
After a scoreless sixth inning for the Bucks, Kingsmen junior Tanner Drog smacked a two-RBI double to broaden their advantage.
At the bottom of the seventh, senior Matt Demianew singled and advanced to third on Duso’s ensuing double.
The two scored on an error by Kingsmen first baseman Jayden Junta to bring the score to 5-4.
Senior Austin Fell singled for an RBI to knot the score.
Stahl was hit by pitch, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Zander then stepped up to the plate.
“I knew I had to do something to get the ball in play,” Zander said. “I wanted to drive it past the infield.”
Zander only grounded his single to first base, but that was all that was needed to drive Stahl home and seal the last-second win.
“I was pumped,” Zander said. “The coaches kept telling us in the dugout, ‘You guys need to battle back,’ and we did. The team deserved this.”
Beers would lead Pendleton’s offense against Putnam with four RBIs and one hit. Demianew hit 2 for 3 and scored one run.
The Bucks (3-3) finish their home Classic today at 11:15 a.m against La Salle Prep.