TONASKET – The Tonasket baseball team won their season opener last week only to lose a doubleheader two days later.
In the season opener against Oroville on Thursday, March 26, Tonasket won 9-5 at the top of seventh inning.
“We were a little shaky to start and made some errors that I would attribute to first game jitters but the guys really settled down and started making plays,” Stephen Williams, head coach, said. “It was kind of an ugly win for us but there is no such thing as a pretty loss so we’ll take it.”
Pitcher Kody Ayers had two strikeouts swinging and three strikeouts looking with five walks.
“[Ayers] pitched the whole game for us and did a great job,” Williams said. “I haven’t looked at the pitching states but he threw a whole bunch of strikes. I was really pleased with his effort and when we started the game committing errors as we did, it would have been easy for Kody to get down but he kept his head and really pitched a gem for us.”
Ayers also had one hit along with teammates Matt Chartier, Jeramy Dellinger and Tyler Monroe. Josh McDaniel had two hits.
“Another bright spot was [McDaniel] who went 2-4 at the plate,” Williams said. “He is doing everything a lead-off batter needs to do. He is getting on and moving around the bases. If we can keep him healthy, I think he is going to have a great season.”
In Tonasket’s first game against Chelan on Saturday, March 28, the Tigers lost 11-0 at the bottom of the fifth inning. They lost the second game 22-0 at the bottom of the fifth inning.
“I think we would like to forget about these two games and move on,” Williams said. “We were handcuffed from the start because we didn’t have all of our players. We started the first game playing very well. Tyler Monroe had command of all his pitches and our defense looked very sharp. We were making the plays we should have made and I thought we played them straight up.”
Monroe had one strikeout swinging, three walks and hit two batters.
“The wheels fell off with two outs in the third inning,” Williams said. “We made some pretty bad mistakes and compounded our fielding errors with throwing errors and it quickly got out of hand. In addition to giving them runs, Chelan’s pitchers held us at bay. I was encouraged though that after that inning our guys settled down again and finished strong. They all played well to finish the game and I was very pleased with the team’s effort as a whole. [Monroe] looked very good on the mound and I would expect him to do well for us all season.”
McDaniel had three hits, the only Tiger to hit off of Chelan in the first game.
“[McDaniel] once again hit well, going 3-3 with three singles,” Williams said. “He led the game off with a stinger up the middle. It was one of the hardest hit balls I have ever seen. He has worked on being patient at the plate and it is paying off.”
In the second game against Chelan, Williams said the team knew they were going to struggle because they were without their two starting pitchers, so they called on Dellinger who normally plays center field to make his starting debut as a pitcher.
“All in all, I was very pleased with his performance,” he added. “I told him that I needed him to throw strikes and that is exactly what he did. If they were going to beat us I wanted them to earn it by hitting and not simply by giving them a bunch of bases on balls. I feel confident that I can go to [Dellinger] whenever I need him.”
Dellinger had two strikeouts swinging, two strikeouts looking and three walks.
“I also got a chance to look at one of our freshman, Dylan Fewkes, on the mound,” Williams said. “He also did what I asked him to do which was throw strikes. He is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.”
Fewkes had no strikeouts and one walk. McDaniel and sophomore Corbin Moser had the only hits for the Tigers.
“As for the bats, they did not improve at all,” Williams said. “[McDaniel] picked up another hit and [Moser] also had a single. It was one of those days you have to shake your head and just get back to practice and prepare for your next game.”
The baseball team next plays on Saturday, April 4 away against Okanogan at 11 a.m.
“We will have most of our guys back for our next game against Okanogan and they are always tough so it will be interesting to see how our guys bounce back,” Williams said.