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Bandon Baseball Vs. Reedsport

Dallas McGill catches a throw from the mound Friday as Reedsport tries to pick off Bandon's Braydon Freitag at first during a game earlier this season in Bandon.

Reedsport’s baseball team hasn’t lost a game since March 15.

If the Brave can still say that in two weeks, they will be Class 2A-1A state champions.

After posting a 21-1 regular season, Reedsport moves into the postseason Wednesday with a home game against Glide in the second round of the playoffs. Game time is 5 p.m., though the location could be moved to Waldport if there is too much rain and Reedsport’s field is unplayable.

“I’m really excited,” said Dallas McGill, the ace of a strong pitching staff that makes the Brave among the teams to beat in the postseason.

But it’s not just the pitching staff that has rolled up a bunch of no-hitters and allowed just 21 runs that has made Reedsport successful.

“We’ve played really well,” Kyle Barnes said. “Our pitching, our defense, our hitting — it’s all come together. We’ve let up the least amount of runs. We’ve had a lot of timely hits.”

The result has been the long win streak after the team’s only loss, in the season opener against Brookings-Harbor, one of the top teams in Class 3A.

Reedsport has spent the past few weeks knowing it would host the playoff game Wednesday and not knowing who it would be against, but that didn’t change the team’s practice at all.

“We’re going to prep like we prep for every game this year,” coach Jason Lavigne said. “Make sure our mindset is right and whoever we are playing, make sure we play.”

One thing that has been good for Reedsport this year is that the coaching staff hasn’t had to worry about is the team’s commitment.

“They challenge themselves at practice,” Lavigne said. “They’ve got a coaching staff that stays on them. We challenge them. They drive themselves to get better.

“We have a lot of kids that love the game. They are baseball smart. They drive themselves to get better.”

McGill agreed.

“Jason likes to say, ‘Practice how you play,’” he said. “Every day when we come to practice, we come with a bunch of energy. We do little competitions so we are trying to do our best all the time.”

The result has been the long win streak with the phenomenal pitching numbers.

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Reedsport shut out 12 opponents and gave up one run three other times.

And it hasn’t just been McGill. It’s been everyone Reedsport has put on the mound, also including Tyler Thornton, Jacob Chaney, Barnes, AJ Stoltey, freshman Derek Johnson and even Griffin Lavigne, the regular catcher.

“We’ve got a great pitching staff,” Jason Lavigne said. “They throw strikes. They move the ball really well. And our defense has been solid all season, with very few errors, which has made it comfortable for our pitchers to throw strikes.”

The other element has been the offense, which has put up better than 10 runs a game.

“When we get up to bat, we can put some runs up on the board,” McGill said.

The team’s batting average is nearly .400 and the hitting has been strong throughout the lineup.

McGill, Chaney, Lavigne and Nick Glover have hit multiple home runs and Thornton, Barnes and freshman John Train all have gone deep once. But home-run power is not the team’s focus.

“All we’re doing is trying to hit the ball hard,” Jason Lavigne said. “We have 20 home runs this year, but nobody was trying to hit those. It’s about hitting the center of the baseball this year.”

Reedsport goes into the playoffs hoping to avoid last year’s fate, when the Brave lost an extra-innings heartbreaker to Bandon in the quarterfinals.

They won’t face the Tigers this year, since Bandon lost 1-0 at Nestucca in the first round Monday.

If they beat Glide, they will face either Culver at home or Umpqua Valley Christian in Roseburg in the quarterfinals on Friday.

The players are excited about the chance to make another deep playoff run like two years ago, when they reached the championship game.

“I’ve been looking forward to it since the start of the season,” Barnes said. “We just need to score runs early and often (with our pitching and defense) and we’ll be fine.”

Admission for Wednesday’s game, as well as every game the rest of the playoffs, is $8 for adults and $5 for students.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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