Kettle Falls has won eight of last 10 games
Kettle Falls High first-year baseball coach Landon Johnston hopes his young Bulldogs can stay hot this week as the Northeast 2B regular season concludes.
The Bulldogs (10-8, 9-5) have won eight of their last 10 games and havenâ€™t dropped a Northeast 2B contest since April 14 and a split with league-leading Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (12-1, 16-1). KFHS is the only team to have beaten LRS so far this season.
Kettle Falls hosted Davenport (6-3, 6-6) in a Senior Day twinbill on Tuesday.
The District 7 2B Tournament starts on Tuesday, May 8 with the leagueâ€™s third and fourth seeds hosting loser-out games. Kettle Falls, very likely to be the leagueâ€™s fourth seeded team when the dust settles later this week, will host games next Tuesday.
The second day of the District tournament will be contested at Gonzaga Prep on May 15.
KFHS needs to take care of business and keep winning
LRS is one game ahead in the loss column over second place Northwest Christian (10-2, 14-2) and third place Colfax (7-3, 11-4).
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Johnston knows that the Bulldogs need to stay hot and take care of business on Tuesday against dangerous Davenport.
â€śWe are coming in hot and we need to stay that way and take care of business,â€ť Johnston said on Monday. â€śIt looks like we are going to be the fourth seed, but we control our own destiny this week. We need to win this week because we want to host (next Tuesday).â€ť
Kettle Falls swept a pair of doubleheaders from Reardan and St. Georgeâ€™s during a busy week. The Bulldogs sandwiched those games around a 5-3 non-league home loss last Friday to the Cheney junior varsity.
In the 13-0, 21-2 thrashing of cellar-dwelling St. Georgeâ€™s, Kettle Falls didnâ€™t do much wrong.
Back on April 24, the Bulldogs went on the road to windy Reardan and â€śdug outâ€ť out an 8-0, 4-3 sweep of the Indians.
The Reardan doubleheader was played under protest (by Kettle Falls) because the hosts were conspicuously missing most of their third base dugout. The dugout, or what was left of it, was Kettleâ€™s home during the doubleheader.
The dugout had been largely destroyed by a windstorm the night before the doubleheader.
Johnstonâ€™s team was able to adapt to life without a dugout on the warm and windy afternoon.
But a little sunscreen would have been nice without the aid and comfort of any shade.
â€śIt was an interesting day to say the least,â€ť Johnston said. â€śReardan wasnâ€™t going to give us their dugout, although thatâ€™s what we would have done for them if the situation had been reversed. Or they could have rescheduled the games.â€ť
Bulldogs are toughâ€¦and this wasnâ€™t an F-4 tornado.
None of that happenedâ€”so Johnston played the games under protest to make a point.
None of that mattered as it turned out.
â€śWe were sitting in the wind and sun for six hours straight,â€ť Johnston said. â€śI wasnâ€™t amusedâ€¦it felt like we had been through a sandstorm after it was all overâ€¦I was proud of the kids for overcoming a little adversity there.â€ť
In the opener, staff ace Tyler Vining (4-2) gave up two first inning runs (aided by a pair of errors and a pair of hits). But he settled in and pitched well after that. His line: seven innings, two runs (neither earned), four hits, nine strikeouts and no walks.
Kettle Falls backed Vining with 11 hits.
Kettle picked up all the runs they would need in the top of the first inning. After leadoff Devin Thompson walked, Logan Cook, Nathan Disque and freshman Casey Hall all singled.
The Bulldogs picked up one more run in the third inning, courtesy of Disqueâ€™s RBI double that chased Cook home (single).
Kettle Falls plated two more in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to blow the game open.
In the second game, the Bulldogs had a tougher time. Catcher Logan Cook (2-0) moved from behind the dish to the mound. The junior was sharp in going the distance. The hard-throwing right-hander surrendered three runs (two earned), scattered two hits and struck out a season-high 14.
Kettle Falls broke a 0-0 tie in the top of the third with a pair of runs. Thompson laced an RBI single that plated senior Brent McNeil, who had tripled. Vining then picked up Thompson with an RBI single.
Reardan touched Cook for all three of their runs in the fourth inning. An error, a walk, a hit batter and a two RBI double all conspired against KFHS in that frame.
Kettle Falls rebounded from that bad inning in dramatic seventh inning fashion. Reuben Winter was aboard on an error, McNeil drew a walk and both runners advanced on a double steal in front of Thompson, who drilled a two-RBI single to give KFHS a lead they wouldnâ€™t relinquish.
Cook pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh and the Bulldogs picked up a tough win.
Thompson was 2-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Vining was 2-3 with an RBI.
Kettle Falls managed only five hits.
On Friday against Cheneyâ€™s junior varsity, the Bulldogsg played well enough to win. KFHS starter Brandon Thomas struggled with his control early, walking four in the one run Cheney first. But he settled in. The junior went five innings, surrendered two runs, a pair of hits and struck out five. He walked eight and hit one batter.
â€śBrandon pitched well enough to win,â€ť Johnston said. â€śBut itâ€™s all about the control.â€ť
McNeil (0-2) pitched the sixth and seventh in relief and took the loss. He surrendered three runs in the sixth inning. He gave up four hits, one walk, struck out one and surrendered those three runs.
Johnston, a Cheney High graduate, wasnâ€™t happy about the loss, but he appreciated the fact that Cheney drove up Highway 395 to play the Bulldogs.
â€śThey have a strong junior varsity team,â€ť Johnston said. â€śThis was their last game. A lot of their kids will be going up to the varsity for the playoffs.â€ť
Cook was the offense for Kettle Falls in this one. He hit a towering two-run home run over the left-field fence to plate Stacy Schauls in the third inning. Cook also had an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Nathan Disque had a double for KFHS.
Cook also threw out a pair of base-runners and caught two more base-runners on pick-off throws to first base.
In the easy sweep of St. Georgeâ€™s, more than a few Bulldogs fattened up their batting averages.
In the 13-0 game one win, Winter (2-0) tossed a five-inning complete game. He threw a three-hitter (only 70 pitches), struck out six and issued only one walk.
KFHS backed Winter with 15 hits, including Viningâ€™s first home run of the season, a three-run shot in the second inning.
â€śThat one was a no-doubter,â€ť Johnston said of Viningâ€™s blast, which scored Brady Hansen and McNeil, who had both doubled.
KFHS plated four more runs in the fourth inning. Highlights: Thomas, Winter and Hansen all had RBI singles in the inning.
For the game, Vining was 2-2 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Thompson was 3-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Hansen was 2-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. McNeil had a double and an RBI. Cook was 1-2 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.
Vining was overpowering in the second game, pitching a no-hitter and striking out 11 in the 21-2 mauling. He walked two in the five-inning game.
Kettle Falls ended this one early with an eight-run first inning. Disque laced a two RBI single and Hansen had an RBI single in the big inning. Cook doubled and Hall and Vining also singled.
In the Kettle third inning, Winter got into the Home Run Derby act with his first HR of the season. Winter was 4-5 for the game with four RBIs and three runs scored.
Hansen also had a double in the third inning.
Kettle Falls added five more runs in the fourth inning. Winter and Vining had RBI doubles. Thomas and Disque stroked RBI singles.
Hall and Vining both doubled in the five-run fifth inning.
Kettle Falls totaled eight extra base hits in the game (six doubles).
Vining was 3-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Disque was 3-3 with three RBIs and four runs scored.
Cook, Halls, Thomas and Hansen all had two hits in game two.