By Randy Parks
The Burns baseball team swept Nyssa 10-3 and 15-5 in Eastern Oregon League (EOL) play on Friday, May 7, and in doing so, took a big step toward at least a tie for the league title and a spot in the 3A playoffs.
The Hilanders got a one-out rally going in the second inning of the first game when Zach Dobson drew a walk and scored on Tyler Cooper’s double.
Casey Heinz was hit by a pitch and Zach Adams made it to first on an error to load the bases. Chance Peasley followed with a ground-rule double that drove in two runs, and Caleb Feist doubled, driving in two more runs.
A double by Casey Thein then brought Feist around to score and the Hilanders led 6-0 at the end of the second.
Nyssa started off the third with two hits and it looked like the Bulldogs might have a rally of their own in the making, but the next batter hit a grounder to Adams at second base. Adams threw the runner out at first, and the Hilanders caught the other two runners off the bases for a triple play. End of rally.
Burns upped their lead to 8-0 in the fifth when Nolan Stampke drilled a lead-off double and scored on Dobson’s single. Dobson scored the second run of the inning on a fielder’s choice by Heinz.
Burns’ pitcher George Swartzlender was cruising through five innings, only giving up five hits , but ran into some trouble in the sixth. With two down, Swartzlender issued a walk, followed by a ground-rule double. Two Hilander errors then allowed two runs to score, and an RBI single gave the Bulldogs three runs before the final out of the inning.
The Hilanders added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a throwing error and Swartzlender’s sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs did get a baserunner on in the top of the seventh on an error, but the Hilanders turned a double play to end the threat and the game.
Cooper and Peasley were both 2-for-3 at the plate, and Dobson was 2-for-4.
Swartzlender (8-2) gave up three runs, none earned, on six hits with four strike outs, three walks and one hit batter.
The Bulldogs came out fast in the second game, scoring four runs in the top of the first. The big blow was a three-run homer over the left field fence by Jeremiah Leos.
The Hilanders answered back however, with five runs in their half of the inning. Feist drew a lead-off walk, Thein singled and Stampke singled to bring in the Hilanders first run. Swartzlender drove in another run with a base hit, and Dobson’s ground out RBI cut the lead to one.
Cooper’s RBI triple to right field tied the game at 4-4 and Cooper scored on a wild pitch to give the Hilanders the lead.
Burns took a 6-4 lead in the second when Cooper singled to drive in Stampke and Swartzlender.
Nyssa loaded the bases with no outs in the third but could only get one run across.
Burns put another five runs on the board in the bottom of the third, the big hits being an RBI single by Dobson and a base hit by Cooper that drove in two.
The Hilanders took a 13-5 lead in the fourth when Feist brought Adams home with a triple to left-center field.
Burns put the game away in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles by Feist and Stampke.
Cooper finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs and one run scored, Stampke was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored, Thein 3-for-5 with two runs scored, Swartzlender 2-for-2 with three runs scored and Feist 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Dobson picked up the win for Burns, giving up five runs, all earned on 11 hits with three strike outs and three walks. Thein pitched the final inning and gave up no runs on two hits.
“We did a great job of coming out and getting the sweep today,” Burns coach Kevin Feist said. “It puts us in a good position to get at least a tie for first in the league.
“I thought we did a good job of coming back in the second game after Nyssa jumped out to a 4-0 lead. I’m proud of the kids and the way they played.”
Burns and Vale are now tied for first in the EOL with 6-2 records.
Burns finishes up league play with a doubleheader at Umatilla on Friday, May 14, while Vale hosts Nyssa in their final league action.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Nys 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 6 2
Bur 0 6 0 0 2 2 x 10 9 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Nys 4 0 1 0 0 0 x 5 13 0
Bur 5 2 5 1 0 2 x 15 15 1
Burns earned a split of their doubleheader with Baker on Tuesday, May 4, in Baker City.
The Bulldogs pounded out 18 hits in a 16-1 victory in the opener, but Burns bounced back for a 6-5 win in the nightcap.
In the first game, Baker jumped out to a 5-1 lead after two innings, and then exploded for 10 runs in the third to put the game away.
“Baker put on a hitting clinic in this game,” Coach Feist said. “They had one stretch in the third inning where they got 10 straight base hits. It didn’t matter where we pitched the ball, they hit it and hit it hard.
“Offensively, we hit the ball but it went right to the Baker players. We only had one strike out in the game, but we couldn’t get the ball to find the holes in the defense.”
The Hilanders came up with only two hits, singles by Dobson and Cooper, and Swartzlender scored Burns’ only run when he came home on a sacrifice fly by Heinz.
Thein (2-3) took the loss, giving up 11 earned runs on 12 hits with one walk over two innings. Adams threw one inning and gave up four earned runs on five hits with one walk, and Heinz pitched one inning in relief and surrendered one run on one hit with two strike outs and three walks.
Down 1-0 after four innings in the second game, Burns scored four times in the top of the fifth, added two runs in the sixth, and then shut down a Baker rally in the seventh to come away with the win.
“I’m really proud of how our teams competed in the second game,” Feist said. “It’s hard to come back after getting beat badly in the first game. Baker is a great baseball team. They are ranked fifth in 4A and are tied for first in the Greater Oregon League.
“We hit well, pitched well and played great defense. When you do that, you’ll win a lot of baseball games.”
C. Feist banged out two hits for Burns, scored twice and had one stolen base; Cooper doubled and had two RBIs; Thein and Swartzlender each had one hit and scored once; Dobson had one hit, an RBI and a stolen base; Adams singled and scored a run;
Heinz had a triple; and Stampke added an RBI.
Swartzlender improved to 7-2 on the year with the win. He went four innings and gave up one earned run on five hits with two strike outs. Peasley finished the game, giving up four runs, all earned, on seven hits with one strike out, two walks and one hit batter in three innings of work.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Bur 0 1 0 0 0 x x 1 2 2
Bak 2 3 10 1 x x x 16 18 0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Bur 0 0 0 0 4 2 0 6 9 0
Bak 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 5 12 3