For the second season in a row, Reedsport’s baseball season ended two games too early.
The Brave won their playoff opener last week, blanking Glide 2-0, but fell in the quarterfinals when they were doomed by a bad first inning in an 8-1 loss to Umpqua Valley Christian in Roseburg.
Reedsport's AJ Stoltey celebrates after being called safe at third base during a Class 2A-1A playoff game May 22 against Glide in Reedsport. A…
“We had a great season and this is a great bunch of kids,” Reedsport coach Jason Lavigne said. “We had one bad inning against a good baseball team and they took advantage of it.”
Reedsport won its playoff opener behind the impressive pitching of Dallas McGill.
The junior spun a no-hitter against the Wildcats, with 15 strikeouts — including the final three outs on nine pitches in the seventh inning.
McGill only made one mistake, a walk to Glide’s Zach Holland to lead off the fourth inning. Holland moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but McGill got out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
The game was still scoreless at that point, but McGill fixed that in the bottom of the inning. He hit a sharp single to right field, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice by Kyle Barnes and came home on a grounder to second by Jacob Chaney.
It was textbook small ball, something Reedsport takes pride in.
“Jason says if there’s ever a guy on third, hit it to the right side,” McGill said.
That was all the run support McGill needed.
AJ Stoltey said it’s fun playing behind McGill when he’s in the groove.
“It feels good,” he said. “It gets me going.”
Stoltey added an insurance run in the fifth inning when he lined a sharp single to center — just Reedsport’s third hit of the game to that point along with McGill’s single and a first-inning double by Griffiin Lavigne.
A bad pickoff throw allowed Stoltey to get all the way to third base and he scored on a squeeze play when Glide’s catcher was unable to handle the pitch after Tyler Thornton failed to get the bunt down.
Reedsport finished with just four hits.
“We didn’t hit the ball, but we manufactured a few runs,” Jason Lavigne said. “Dallas pitched a gem. Griffin worked well behind the plate.”
The opening-round win was a relief, Stoltey said.
“We should have hit the ball better,” he said. “We had lock-down defense.”
Unfortunately, the offensive struggles continued at Umpqua Valley Christian on Friday and the defense made a few miscues in the first inning.
Reedsport had three errors and walked four batters as Umpqua Valley Christian scored all eight runs in the first inning. The Monarchs only had three hits in the inning and one later in the game, as Stoltey came on and was phenomenal in relief.
“AJ stepped up on the mound and pitched excellent,” Lavigne said.
Reedsport only had four hits.
Lisa Wildman celebrates Wednesday as the Reedsport baseball team adds a run to its lead during a playoff game against Glide in Reedsport.
Nick Glover had a single in the first inning, but was stranded. Javier Analco, who was injured nearly all season, singled in the fifth, moved up on a single by Stoltey and scored Reedsport’s run on a sacrifice fly by Glover. McGill had a leadoff triple in the sixth, but was stranded at third.
Umpqua Valley Christian advanced to the semifinals and a date with top-ranked Knappa. Last year, Reedsport also lost in the quarterfinals, an extra-inning thriller against Bandon.
Reedsport finished the season with just two losses — in the season opener to Brookings-Harbor and in the playoff game to the Monarchs.
“This group worked hard all year long and should be proud of what they accomplished,” Jason Lavigne said. “I was really proud of every one of these players, and we have a bunch of young talent, so we will be back and ready next year.”
And as has often been the case, the Brave enjoyed a huge home crowd for their first playoff game and most of the home dates all year.
“I would like to thank the Reedsport fans for all the support this season,” Lavigne said.