OIBA BASEBALL: Hyder Dental 6, HPS 4

The Crimson Tide are turning to youth to get them through a busy second week of the Oregon Independent Baseball Association season.

Missing several varsity starters due to football commitments, HPS fell to visiting Hyder Dental of McMinnville 6-4 to drop to 1-2 on the summer campaign. Tomorrow, The Tide play their third game in three days when they take on the Forest Grove Vikings in a game that will be broadcast live on KUIK…weather permitting.

It began to sprinkle in the fifth inning of Wednesday night’s game at Petrick Field, but the rain had subsided by the seventh. Glencoe trailed by two after giving up a five-run fourth inning, but leadoff batter Sam Kirk earned a walk against Mac-Hi’s hard-throwing righty Colton Smith, bringing the tying run to the plate. Rising sophomore Kyle Wing pinch-hit for Joe Collings and got the count to 3-2 before grounding into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

The Grizzlies began the game with their top returning pitcher, 2nd-team All-Greater Valley Conference right-handed junior Caden Slaughter, who pitched three scoreless innings despite the Crimson Tide putting runners in scoring position in each. Pitching to cleanup hitting catcher Taylor Mursu to open the bottom of the fourth, Slaughter clearly showed discomfort that caused Hyder’s pitching coach and manager Todd Peterson to make a trip to the mound. Slaughter was removed from the game complaining of forearm tightness and right-hander Jose Morales came in to relieve, inheriting a 3-0 count. Mursu reached on a base on balls, then Nathan Sprenger followed with a walk. Jordan Williams slashed a single up the middle that got past center fielder Ian Wilson for an error, plating two. With a runner at second and still none out, Glencoe’s rally would stall as Morales retired the final two batters on a strikeout and infield pop.

Hoping to take a bigger gash out of a 5-0 deficit, the Tide had to settle for two. In the top of the inning, McMinnville parlayed three errors, a walk, a hit batter and three hits into a five-run inning. Everett Hensley and Martin Lopez-Garcia delivered RBI singles as the bottom half of the Grizzly order delivered all three hits in the inning and seven of their nine hits in the game.

The Tide pulled within one in the fifth inning when Kirk reached on a single to right and Collins walked. A passed ball and wild pitch sent Kirk across the plate and put Collins in position to score on Sprenger’s sacrifice fly to shallow center.

McMinnville added an insurance run in the sixth when Andres Esparza drew a leadoff walk from reliever Will Stephens, advanced on a sac bunt  and scored on Wilson’s RBI single to left. Stephens escaped a bases-loaded jam after giving up a leadoff double in the seventh, giving the Tide a chance at a comeback that fell short.

Wilson, who batted ninth for Hyder, went 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI and threw a runner 0ut at the plate to end the second inning. HPS had scoring opportunities thwarted on the bases in each of the first three inning, with Kirk caught off second base on a line-out double play to end the first and picked off second base by McMinnville catcher Kevin Sullivan to end the third inning after his two-out double. Kirk did have another productive day at the plate, reaching base all four times with a pair of hits and a pair of walks. A returning starter in center field, the senior-to-be is off to a 6-for-10 start at the plate this summer with four runs scored and two runs batted in.

Thursday night’s game at Forest Grove is scheduled for a 5:30 first pitch with pregame airtime at 5:25 p.m. on KUIK 1360.