BANDON — Reedsport’s baseball team hasn’t lost all year. In the final week of the regular season, the Brave finally can say they are league champions again, too.
Reedsport edged Bandon 2-0 in a classic pitcher’s duel Tuesday to wrap up the Sunset Conference crown and sending the Tigers into a must-win contest at Siletz Valley on Thursday to avoid a three-way tie for second place.
The game featured a showdown between Reedsport ace Dallas McGill and Bandon’s Jason Wilhite and the Tigers actually out-hit the Brave 6-4, impressive given his two recent one-hitters.
But Bandon couldn’t break through and Reedsport took advantage of a pair of miscues by the Tigers to score the only runs.
“That was a good game,” Reedsport coach Jason Lavigne said, adding that it was especially good as the Brave tune up for the playoffs when they should have numerous close contests.
Opportunities came at a premium with how well the two pitchers threw Tuesday.
Reedsport got a run in the first inning when Nick Glover got a one-out single, moved to second on a groundout by Griffin Lavigne and came home when McGill hit a ball to shortstop that led to a throwing error at third base.
The only other run came in the fourth, and also partly resulted from a miscue. Korde Parmenter had a walk to lead off the inning, but then got caught between first and second. The Tigers ran the pickle drill properly for a few throws chasing him between first and second, but a high throw allowed Parmenter to slide safely into second.
After a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Barnes, Parmenter came home on a single by Jacob Chaney.
The two runs were the fewest scored by Reedsport all year, but proved to be enough for McGill, who struck out 10 and got a lot of help from his battery mate.
Griffin Lavigne threw out three Bandon base runners trying to steal second, two of them in the second inning.
“I was surprised they kept trying him,” Jason Lavigne said of the Tigers.
Not many teams try to steal against Lavigne, who has a cannon for an arm and was right on the money with every throw to shortstop Marc Chaney.
“I feel it’s huge,” Griffin Lavigne said of throwing out base runners. “If they get to second, there’s a chance they could score.”
McGill said it’s comforting having Lavigne behind the plate.
“If I give him a good pitch, most of the time it will be an out,” he said.
Bandon’s best chance came in the sixth, when Koby Smith walked and moved to third on a bad pickoff throw — Reedsport’s only error.
With one out, Braydon Freitag put down a bunt. It went for a single, but didn’t give Smith time to try to get home.
Freitag stole second, but McGill got out of the jam by getting twins Darian and Donavin Phommaphat to pop out in the infield.
Bandon also had runners on second and third in the fourth inning when Matt Yarbor had his second infield single of the game and Donavin Phommaphat had a two-out single. But McGill got out of that jam by inducing a fly ball to right by Adam Basey to end the threat.
“We needed one two-out hit,” Bandon coach Jay Ferrell said after the game.
But he also said he was thrilled with how his team played, especially after errors plagued the Tigers in losses last week to both Toledo and Umpqua Valley Christian.
“It was a fabulous game,” Ferrell said. “I told the kids that was the funnest game I’ve had all year.”
Part of that was the defense that only had the two mental errors and also got a big out in the field when Yarbor threw out Barnes at third base from right field when he tried to advance from first on a single by Chaney.
Then there was the performance by Wilhite, who allowed just the four hits and struck out four while keeping Reedsport off balance.
“That was fun to watch,” Ferrell said. “He was ahead (of the batters) all day.”
Even though Bandon lost, Wilhite said the Tigers can gain confidence from the game heading into Thursday’s game at Siletz Valley.
“I guess everyone realizes if we play like we did today, we can play with anybody,” he said.
If Bandon loses Thursday, the Tigers likely will finish in a three-way tie with Siletz Valley and Toledo, requiring a league playoff doubleheader Saturday.
“We need to show up with the same mentality we did today — and get runs across the plate,” Wilhite said.
Reedsport, meanwhile, got to celebrate the league title on the field Tuesday.
“It’s awesome,” Griffin Lavigne said, adding that he is looking forward to the playoffs.
“This was a good tuneup game,” he said. “It’s good to get good competition right before the playoffs.”
Reedsport finishes league play at Waldport on Thursday and then faces Far West League champion North Bend in a nonleague game Saturday at Clyde Allen Field.