Cougars sweep up opponents

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School baseball team pulled out a broom and swept a doubleheader from Lowell in the only games they played last week. The Cougars beat the Devils 11-1 in the opener and then finished the twinbill with a 10-4 victory in the nightcap last Monday in Cave Junction. The Cougars are now 4-1 on the year. Despite the two wins, I.V. dropped down to No. 15 in the 2A baseball rankings by the OSAA.
Illinois Valley scored four runs in each of the first two innings in the opener, which was shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule. Talen Schaffer started the first inning rally with a walk before stealing both second and third base. Zack Dugas, after working a full count, walked as well and promptly stole second.
Schaffer scored the Cougar’s first run when Kegan Russell singled. I.V.’s next two runs came on the next pitch when Jozia Williams doubled, scoring Dugas and Jeremiah Izzo, who came on as a courtesy runner for Russell, who was catching. After Williams stole third, he scored the final run of the inning on a Kaiden Green sacrifice fly to center field.
Illinois Valley’s four run second inning had similarities to its first inning rally. Bryson Gilmore led off being hit by the pitch, and he promptly stole second. Starting pitcher Dylan Beals walked, and Mason Richardson came in as Beals’ courtesy runner. Schaffer then singled to load the bases.
Dugas delivered an RBI single, scoring Gilmore. After a strikeout, Williams hit a 3-run double, scoring Richardson, Schaffer and Dugas.
I.V. forced an early ending with three more runs in the fourth. Once again, the top of the order came through for the Cougars. Beals led off with a single and Schaffer was hit by the pitch. Dugas singled to load the bases.
Russell laid down a sacrifice, scoring Beals. Williams singled, scoring Schaffer. Dugas scored the final run, executing a double steal with Williams.
Beals got the win on the hill, spinning a complete five-inning game allowing only one first inning run. Beals gave up just one hit, while walking three in the game. Beals struck out 10, including the last four Lowell batters of the game.
Williams was the straw stirring the drink for Illinois Valley, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, six RBIs and a run scored. Dugas was 2-for-2 with a walk, while scoring three runs and knocking in one. He also stole two bases. Schafer was 1-for-1 with a walk and a hit by pitch. He also scored three times and swiped a pair of bags.
The second game was much closer until I.V. struck for four runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth to give themselves a cushion.
After the Devils scored in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead, Beals and Dugas teamed up to tie the game in the bottom part of the frame. Beals led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on Dugas’ single.
Lowell grabbed the lead right back win another run in the second. But the Cougars scored twice to take a 3-2 lead after two innings. Jackson Tincher led off the second being hit by a pitch, and Gilmore walked. After Tim Wood walked, Mike Miller lifted what would have been a sacrifice fly to right. The Devils’ right fielder made an error on the play and two runs scored.
Green, who had come on to pitch in relief of Gilmore in the third inning, got the rally started in the fourth. Green walked, as did Miller and Beals. Richardson, running for Green, scored on an error by Lowell’s pitcher. Then Schaffer singled, scoring Miller and Beals. Schaffer would eventually score as well.
The same people were involved in the fifth innings uprising as well. Green singled and Miller walked. Beals doubled, scoring Richardson who was again running for Green. Schaffer singled, plating Miller. Finally, Beals scored on a passed ball.
Gilmore started the game on the mound for the Cougars. He pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on one hit. Gilmore walked four and hit one, while striking out three.
Green got credit for the win in relief. He pitched three innings and gave up one run on no hits, walking two and hitting one. Green fanned five in his stint. Williams finished the game for the Cougars, tossing 1 2/3 innings giving up one hit while hitting two batsmen. Williams whiffed four.
Schaffer provided most of the offense, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIS. Beals was 2-for-2 with a double, one RBI and three runs scored. Dugas and Green collected the only other hits, although IV did wind up with 13 free passes in the game.
The Cougars opened league play Tuesday with a single game at Riddle. The three-game series with the Irish will conclude with a double-header in Cave Junction Friday at 2 and 4 p.m. I.V. continues its league slate by hosting Lost River in a single game next Tuesday at 4 p.m.