It has been a tough stretch for the Colville High baseball team. The Indians (2-7) have lost six straight in the tough Great Northern League and head into the post-Spring Break portion of their schedule looking for a little Mojo and some good fortune.
“The most important thing right now is that our team believes that we’re going to start winning soon,” CHS head coach Boo Morrison said of his team’s rough stretch. “Baseball is a crazy game. We’re not getting any balls to bounce our way right now and we’re not catching any breaks.
“The team knows how close we are to having a 7-2 record instead of a 2-7 record. We still have a great chance to get into the playoffs. Hopefully, we can put it all together before the playoffs start. When we do, the last team anyone will want to play is Colville.”
The Indians are scheduled to return to action Thursday at Northwest Christian in a non-leaguer with the Crusaders. Game time is 4 p.m.
CHS will get back into Great Northern League play on Saturday when the Indians travel to league power East Valley. The doubleheader starts at noon.
On April 16, the Indians will entertain Deer Park (4 p.m. start).
Colville was coming off tough 8-6, 10-7 losses to Clarkston when they hooked up with always solid Pullman back on April 2.
The Indians had no trouble plating runs, but Pullman pounded CHS pitching and took advantage of some poor CHS defense in a 16-10 win.
Colville started off well enough, plating two runs in the first inning. Journy Young was hit by a pitch and Lukyn Holling followed with a single. A balk by the Pullman pitcher moved Young and Holling into scoring position in front of Ryan Hartinger, who plated both runners with a two-RBI single.
But the Indians didn’t bring their gloves.
“After that first inning, our defense fell apart,” acknowledged Morrison, whose team gave up six second inning runs. The ‘Hounds plated one run in the third and three runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
That kind of scoring barrage is tough to overcome.
“In that second inning, we gave up six runs on four errors,” Morrison recalled. “We worked so hard on situational hitting the last week because our defense has been really good. We hit the ball like we wanted to, but our defense just didn’t hold up.”
Pullman didn’t manage many earned runs on a sloppy day for Colville’s defense.
Colville managed 11 hits and plated 10 runs, but it wasn’t enough.
“We worked so hard there, but our defense just didn’t show up,” Morrison lamented, adding that nine of Pullman’s 16 runs were unearned. “When we put it together, we will be tough to beat. We either hit the ball real well and don’t play defense, or we play great defense and don’t get the key hits.”
Colton Vining had a big game for CHS with a 4-4 afternoon (two doubles and two singles).
“And Colton was one of the few kids who played good defense for us,” Morrison said.
Pullman picked up 20 hits against Colville pitching.
Josh Harvey had three hits for CHS.
Holling took the loss. He was one of five Colville pitchers in the game.
Last Saturday, Colville managed only one run in 14 innings and was swept by Cheney, 1-0, 7-1.
In the opener, Hartinger was the hard-luck loser for Colville in the extra innings opener that went nine. The junior went the distance and got some very solid defensive play behind him. Hartinger threw only 77 pitches and surrendered only three hits.
Hartinger had only one strikeout and walked one. He hit a batter.
“That was probably one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” Morrison said of the tough opening game loss.
“We just are having a tough time putting our offense and defense together in the same game.”
The game was scoreless through seven innings. Hartinger gave way to left-hander Chris Boggs in the eighth. Boggs loaded the bases with three straight walks in the eighth.
“I went out and talked to Chris and he told me he wanted to stay in…’I got this,’ he told me,’” Morrison said.
The next Cheney batter popped out to the first baseman and Boggs got the next hitter to strike out before he was able to induce an inning-ending ground out to escape a serious jam.
Colville, who managed only one hit, got runners as far as second base in the top of the ninth and 10th innings, but couldn’t push across the winning run.
Ben Knight had Colville’s only hit.
Boggs gave way to senior right-hander Austin Hegney in the ninth. Hegney was up to the challenge in that frame, but in the 10th inning, he ran into trouble when he walked the lead-off hitter and hit the second batter.
The next Cheney hitter drilled a ball into the gap and that was that.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our kids for the way they played and battled,” Morrison said. “We had a couple of opportunities to win that game and we just couldn’t get the timely hit.”
The second game was more of the same for Colville.
Colville, who managed eight hits, pushed across their only run in the second inning.
Hegney got the start and threw the first five innings. He put up goose eggs until Cheney overcame that 1-0 CHS lead with a three-run fifth inning. The Blackhawks scored four more times in the sixth to break the game open.
“Once again, our defense played well, but we couldn’t score enough runs to win,” Morrison said.
Colville played errorless baseball.
Hitting safely for Colville, were Young, Lukyn Holling, Tevyn Holling, Hartinger, Knight and Harvey.
Cheney’s offense picked up seven hits.