PENDLETON - In their last double header of the summer, the Pendleton Merchants beat the Hermiston Heat yet again, coming out on top with 4-3 and 13-6 victories at Bob White Field Thursday.
Both teams are nearing the end of their Class A American Legion schedules, with Hermiston wrapping up today against The Dalles at Weber Field and Pendleton playing through the weekend and then at the district tournament.
In the first game the squads traded runs through the early innings, then remained tied from the bottom of the fourth until the bottom of the seventh. Pinch runner Travis Jones scored the winning run in the final frame from second base on an overthrow error.
"We gave them three of their four runs in the first game just not playing good defense," said Hermiston coach Lance Hawkins. "We had two mistakes around third that cost us. That was that game summed up."
Following the game-ending mistake, the Hermiston Heat struggled heading into the night cap and found themselves trailing 12-1 in the bottom of the third with just one hit as a team.
Though the Merchants were predicting a 10-run rule victory, the Heat managed to climb back into the game and make it interesting down the stretch.
"I thought it was going to be over in five, and I kind of jinxed us because I told the other guys we weren't going to bat again," said Torin Garza, who was 2 for 3 with three RBI.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Brad Morton ripped a two-run double to cut the lead to nine and give the game an extended life. Morton finished the game 2 for 3 with three RBI.
"(Coming back) shows that at times we can stroke the ball, and with the right mental approach and being aggressive we can compete," Hawkins said. "But you can't have days where players come in and say they're just not feeling it."
Hermiston couldn't add any runs to the board in the sixth inning and the two they tacked on in the seventh still left them short
"You make your own breaks, and that's something we always talk about," Hawkins added. "It may seem like the other team's always getting that blooper or whatever, but until you start doing the little things and getting those hits when you need them, lucky breaks don't matter."
In the first game Hermiston stranded seven runners in the final three innings, giving Pendleton the opportunity to pull out the win.
Of Hermiston's six hits in the game, four were for extra bases, including three consecutive doubles in the fifth.
"We had three guys hit the ball well in the fifth inning off good pitching, so it shows they know how to do it," Hawkins added.
Pendleton will play two games today at the Baker City Tournament.
GAME 1 R H E
HERMISTON 011 100 0 - 3 6 3
PENDLETON 111 000 1 - 4 6 2
Kyle Rhodes and Booter Lewis. Torin Garza, Jon Mitchell (5), Isaac Henslee (7) and Dannon Baker. W - Henslee. L - Rhodes.
GAME 2 R H E
HERMISTON 001 030 2 - 6 6 2
PEND (20-12) 246 001 X - 13 10 2
Paul Lloyd, Ben Millard (3) and Booter Lewis. Casey Dietz, Robbie Perry (3), Dain Alderman (5), Jared Standley (7) and Dannon Baker, Eric Crawford (5). W - Dietz. L - Lloyd.
2B - Lewis, Brad Morton, Kyle Rhodes and Paul Lloyd (Hermiston); Jon Mitchell, Baker, Dietz, Torin Garza (Pendleton).