Prep baseball: Rockets misfire in tournament

<p>Pilot Rock's Dustin Dedios waits for a pitch from Dufur's Boone Little at the Special District 6 baseball tournament at Bob White Field in Pendleton on Saturday. The Rangers eliminated the Rockets 13-2 in five innings.</p>

PENDLETON?— The Pilot Rock baseball team won’t play any state tournament games this season — and the Rangers from Dufur made sure of that in just one inning.

The Rockets (10-10, 8-6 SD6) allowed 10 runs in the bottom of the first and staff ace Tyler “Chuck” Simmons failed to work out of the inning as Dufur demolished Pilot Rock 13-2 on Saturday morning at the Special District 6 baseball tournament. The teams played at Bob White Field in Pendleton.

“We didn’t make the plays we needed to, just didn’t get it done” a frustrated Pilot Rock coach Chris Byrd said.

Six Pilot Rock errors helped Dufur turn scoring threats into bona fide rallies. The Rangers needed only nine hits to score all 13 runs.

 When it came time for the Rocket players to take the offensive, Rangers pitcher Boone Logan kept them at his stellar right arm’s length.

Facing a 13-0 Everest to climb to avoid a finished season, the Rockets managed to get on the board in the fifth inning before the game was cut short by 10-run mercy rule. Zack Stai doubled in the first run of the game. The senior would come around to score later in the inning for the additional Rocket run.

“It’s a lot better than just getting skunked,” Stai said about breaking the shutout late.

Dufur (12-11, 8-6?SD6), the No. 4 team in the tournament, advanced to play Horizon Christian later on Saturday. The Hawks woul knock the Rangers out with a 3-2 victory in seven innings to grab the final SD6 spot in the 16-team state tournament next week.

Dufur won all three meetings with Pilot Rock this season. The teams met for a doubleheader in Dufur to wrap up the regular season on Friday, May 11. The Rangers took the pair with plenty of offense, again buoyed by Pilot Rock errors. Dufur averaged better than 13 runs against the Rockets in the three-game set.

“The first two games we didn’t play well at all, so we thought we were going to come here (Saturday) and play better,” Stai said. “We thought we could have come in here and gotten a win, but it just didn’t happen.”

Pilot Rock improved greatly on a 2-21 season from 2011 and a last place finish in the SD6. The team will lose only three seniors from its roster to graduation heading into next year.

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Contact AJ Mazzolini at amazzolini@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0839.

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