Cougars move to 2-1 on the season, ranked 8th

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School baseball team won the only game they played last week, rallying for four runs in the sixth inning against Oakridge to claim a 5-4 non-league victory over the Warriors Tuesday in Cave Junction. The Cougars are now 2-1 on the year and ranked No. 8 in 2A baseball by the OSAA.
Oakridge grabbed a 2-0 lead on a pair of unearned runs in the first two innings off starting senior pitcher Dylan Beals. Beals tossed three innings in the game and struck out six while giving up the two runs.
I.V. cut the gap to 2-1 in the bottom of the second. Senior first basemen Jozia Williams reached on an error. He eventually scored on a single from sophomore Braedon Lapora.
The Warriors got that run back in the fifth inning off junior Bryson Gilmore, who had come on in relief of Beals. It also was an unearned run. Gilmore hit Oakridge lead-off hitter Kayden Tiller. Tiller stole second base and eventually scored on an error. Gilmore wound up throwing two innings for the Cougars, striking out three. However, he had some control problems as well, walking three and hitting two batsmen.
This set the stage for the “Cardiac Cougars” to stage another late game-winning rally. Trailing 3-1, Gilmore led off the I.V. sixth with a double. Gilmore moved to third when sophomore Jackson Tincher reached on an error. After Tincher stole second, Williams plated both with a single to tie the game.
Williams scored the go ahead run by stealing second, and then advancing to third and scoring on a pair of passed balls by the Oakridge catcher. Illinois Valley got an insurance run when Beals reached on an error, stole second and scored on junior Talen Schaffer’s single, making the score 5-3.
Lapora got the win on the hill for the Cougars. He threw the final two innings and did not give up a hit. He fanned two and walked one.
Williams’ two runs and pair of RBIs were the difference in the game for I.V. The Cougars were held to just four hits, Gilmores double and singles by Williams, Lapora and Schaffer. I.V. made the most of some sloppy fielding by Oakridge, as four times the Cougars reached base on error.
The Cougars have another slow week during this Spring Break. The Cougars were scheduled to host the Lowell Devils in a non-league doubleheader Monday. They open league play next Tuesday with a single game at Riddle.