NORTH BEND — Two strong pitching performances keyed a sweep for North Coos in an American Legion doubleheader against visiting South Coos on Monday.
North Coos won the two games, both shortened to six innings by the mercy rule, by 11-1 and 13-3 scores. The twin bill was the first league contest in the Area 4 North Division for both teams.
In the first game, Tyler Thornton pitched a gem for North Coos, giving up just a first-inning run while allowing four hits and striking out seven in a complete game.
“I feel I had a great game,” he said. “I had a good defense behind me.”
Thornton also drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and a two-run single in the sixth, when North Coos plated six runs to make the final score more lopsided than the rest of the game suggested.
Corbin White scored three runs for North Coos while getting on base four different ways. He had a single in the second, reached on catcher’s interference in the third, walked in the fourth and was hit by a pitch in the sixth.
Bridger Holmes had an RBI double for North Coos and Brylee Anderson, Jayden Frank and Jared Northrop all had RBI singles. Ian Spalding drove in the clinching run with a pop single in the sixth that dropped between South Coos defenders after getting up in the tricky winds.
South Coos got its run when Braydon Freitag singled and scored on a two-out single by Ryan Knight in the first inning. The only other hits for South Coos were a double by Dom Montiel and a single by Wyatt Peck.
North Coos nearly had the nightcap won in five innings, but Peck doubled and scored on a two-out single by Knight to extend the game after the Waterfront had scored five in the third and four in the fourth to take an 11-1 lead.
Holmes was the leader both on the mound and at the plate in the second game.
He pitched a complete-game three-hitter with seven strikeouts and also drove in four runs with a first-inning single and a three-run homer in the third inning.
The homer was the first for Holmes, who just finished his sophomore year at North Bend and came off his good friend Montiel, a former Babe Ruth teammate.
“I hit one in (batting practice) and I was hoping to get that pitch, a fastball up and in,” Holmes said.
Anderson had two hits, including a well-placed bunt single, and scored two runs for the Waterfront. Northrop had three runs and Holmes and Thornton scored two runs each.
Thornton had an RBI double in the first inning and Daylen Brown had a pair of singles and drove in a run.
North Coos coach Brad Horning said Brown has been a pleasant surprise in the Waterfront’s first two doubleheaders. The player who was on North Bend’s JV squad has had success against high school varsity pitchers, a big step up from what he saw in the regular season, Horning said.
The coach was thrilled with the effort of both his pitchers.
“Tyler kept them in check offensively,” he said. “And in the second game, Bridger pitched really well.”
North Coos also was solid on defense nearly all day, though miscues led to two of the three South Coos runs in the nightcap.
Trace James was hit by a pitch in the second inning and then scored on a passed ball and an error after a sacrifice bunt by Blake Crane.
Freitag scored in the sixth when he walked, stole second and came home on a sacrifice bunt by Cam Olson.
Aside from the two hits in the fifth inning, the only other South Coos hit in the game was a first-inning single by Montiel as the team struggled to get anything going against Holmes.
“I felt pretty good (about my pitching),” Holmes said.
Since there are only five teams in the division this year, the league season is a 16-game race (four doubleheaders home and away), with the top two teams advancing to the American Legion Single-A Oregon state tournament.
North Coos won the title last year, when the state tournament was at Clyde Allen Field.
“It was a good start to league play,” Holmes said. “Hopefully we can continue it.”
Thornton is optimistic about the season.
“This group has a lot of talent, a lot of skill and a lot of heart,” he said. “I think we can do pretty good.”
North Coos improved to 4-0 on the young season. South Coos is 2-3.
South Coos coach Shaun Knight said he was pleased with how his team battled to extend the second game past the fifth inning.
South Coos also visits Roseburg Pepsi on Thursday and hosts Grants Pass on Saturday.
“I knew this was going to be a tough stretch,” he said. “Luckily, we get Grants Pass at home.”
South Coos used three pitchers in each game. They struggled at times with their control, including walking 13 batters and hitting two in the nightcap, but all have experience from the high school season.
“We have some work to do,” he said. “It’s a pretty solid core of guys out there.
North Coos 11, South Coos 1
Braydon Freitag, Cam Olson (3), Trace James (5) and Ezra Waterman. 2B-SC: Dom Montiel; NC: Bridger Holmes.
North Coos 13, South Coos 3
Dom Montiel, Ryan Knight (4), Jace Haagen (6) and Jason Hinds; Bridger Holmes and Elijah Blankenship. 2B—SC: Wyatt Peck; NC: Tyler Thornton, Javier Analco. HR—NC: Holmes.