NORTH BEND — There were two full baseball teams at North Bend’s Clyde Allen Field on Thursday afternoon, but only two uniform numbers.
All of Marshfield’s players were wearing No. 55 and all of North Bend’s No. 11 in honor of two players who everybody wished would have been there with their teammates.
Marshfield’s players and coaches were wearing uniforms with the number and name of teammate Blake Crane, who died suddenly early this year from the flu. North Bend’s team remembered Ian Spalding, who slipped and fell into the ocean near Sunset Bay and was never found.
Both would have been seniors this fall and key members of their respective teams.
“There’s no question that these two people are tremendous losses,” said Marshfield coach Floyd Montiel, adding that the uniforms are good ways to remember the players and honor them and their families.
North Bend also has the No. 13 and letters CA on its jersey sleeves in memory of North Bend graduate Cody Anderson, who died in a logging accident during the summer.
“It was nice for them to wear 55 and us to where the two numbers,” said North Bend coach Brad Horning, adding that the two coaches did not discuss their uniform plans in advance.
Anderson’s younger brother Brylee was North Bend’s first pitcher Thursday and sparkled along with the other three hurlers from the two teams — North Bend’s Bridger Holmes and the Marshfield tandem of Dom Montiel and Landon Croff.
“All four pitchers pitched great,” Floyd Montiel said. “I don’t remember the last time we had a no-hitter.”
That’s exactly what Dom Montiel and Croff did Thursday. The Pirates managed four hits, and the last of them led to one of the only two runs scored in the game. Marshfield had a run in each of the last two innings to beat the Bulldogs 2-0.
While the Pirates celebrated the win, the score wasn’t the most important thing Thursday — getting the opportunity to play was.
The two schools have agreed to play four sports for the first few weeks of the fall — baseball and softball, outdoor volleyball and track and field. They will switch to boys and girls soccer and seven-on-seven football later in the fall.
“The kids have been looking forward to this,” Horning said. “We’ve had as many as 29 kids at practices.”
It was the first time any of the Bulldogs had played a game in more than a calendar year — the spring season was canceled and North Bend had a few games tentatively scheduled during the summer only to have them fall through.
“It was really nice for this to be able to happen today,” Horning said. “The most important thing is our districts have allowed us to do this.”
The ability to play came with some restrictions — all the players had to have at least nine practices, and all the players and coaches, as well as the umpires, had to wear masks.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Floyd Montiel said after the game. “This is such a needed thing for the boys.
“It’s been a good week to have volleyball, baseball and softball (the first track meet was to come the following day).”
Floyd Montiel said more important than the results on the field in any of the sports is the opportunity for the students to participate.
He referred to the social importance of the students being able to get together and to compete.
“To have the mental piece is so important,” he said.
As for the actual game, the teams traded blanks for the first five innings, with a number of strikeouts by the pitchers of both teams and North Bend’s Holmes turning a nifty double play to end one inning while playing shortstop.
Marshfield finally broke through in the sixth. Drake Rogers beat out an infield single, advancing to second on a throwing error. He moved to third on a grounder by Ezra Waterman and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wyatt Peck.
The other run came an inning later, without a hit. Luke Rhodes reached on a passed-ball third strike and came home on a throwing error by the Bulldogs the following batter.
Rogers also had a double in the game and Dom Montiel and Merrick Henderson had singles.
The Pirates had four games during the summer in a tournament at Brookings.
“Our swings weren’t bad,” Floyd Montiel said. “We had zero timing.”
Both teams will get several more chances over the next few weeks.