Bandon’s baseball team saw its season come to end in a 1-0 loss to host Nestucca in the opening round of the Class 2A-1A playoffs Monday.
The host Bobcats scored a run in the first inning and Bandon was never able to counter on a day when the Tigers had just one hit, by Josh Minkler, against Nestucca pitcher Logan Blackburn.
“They just played good defense,” Bandon coach Jay Ferrell said. “They just made every play. We hit it to the wrong guy.”
Nestucca fielded hard grounder after hard grounder in the infield, came up with a couple of catches when outfielders collided with each other but managed to hold on to the ball, and didn’t allow any walks.
Bandon’s one good chance to score came in the fourth, when Minkler had his hit. Braydon Freitag followed with a fielder’s choice grounder — Minkler was retired at second.
A pair of overthrows allowed Freitag to get to third base and Hunter Hausler hit a hard grounder. Hausler was called out at first in a close play, denying a tying run.
The Tigers also had a great defensive game, and strong pitching from Jason Wilhite, who allowed just five hits, none hit particularly hard, Ferrell said.
“It was probably our best defensive day,” Ferrell said.
The Tigers turned two double plays, but it was one they didn’t turn that led to the run.
Blackburn singled to lead off the first inning and was out at second on a grounder by Mitchell Richwine, but the Tigers just missed turning a double play. Richwine later scored on a single by Trey Wimberly and that proved to be enough.
The loss ended an up-and-down season for the Tigers, who had just three seniors — Wilhite, Hausler and catcher Ethan Hultin. Monday’s lineup also included freshmen Cooper Lang and Chris Butler and sophomores Jake Watjen and Minkler.
Bandon had hoped for a run similar to last year, when the Tigers reached the semifinals.
“When Jason and Ethan were freshmen, we walked about taking steps every year,” Ferrell said. “We took a little step back this year.”
But with such a young roster, the future remains bright, he said.
Nestucca advanced to face top-ranked Knappa in the second round Wednesday.
SANTIAM 15, BANDON 5: The Tigers lost on the road to the Wolverines, ending their season in the first round of the Class 2A-1A playoffs.
Dedra Foster had a double and home run for the Tigers and finished with two runs and three RBIs. Allison Hennick went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Traylin Arana had three hits, including a double, and scored a run. Kadence Teel had a double and an RBI and Lizzy Gallagher had a hit and a run.
“Unfortunately, we came out flat and fell behind early, but we scratched and clawed and got back to within four going into the fourth inning thanks to Alyssa Duenas robbing one of their players of a three-run homer,” Bandon coach Brandon Gallagher said. “That kind of got our juices flowing.
“We just couldn’t hang on long enough to give ourselves a shot.”
The Tigers reversed last year, when they had a slow start, and return nearly all the players from a squad that finished 13-7.
“I’m super proud of the girls and can’t wait until next year,” Gallagher said.
Santiam will face Vernonia in the second round Wednesday.