REEDPSORT — Reedsport’s baseball team is averaging more than 10 runs a game. The Brave are giving up just one run a contest — and six of those 21 runs came in the season opener. The squad hasn’t lost a game in more than two months running up 21 wins in a row.
None of that matters now. Starting Wednesday, it’s win or the season ends for the Sunset Conference champions.
“I’m really excited,” said Dallas McGill, the ace of Reedsport’s stingy pitching staff. “It’s some good competition, like at the beginning of the season.”
Reedsport hosts Glide at 5 p.m. Wednesday, though the game could be moved to Waldport if rains make Reedsport’s home field unplayable.
Reedsport overwhelmed most of its league opponents, posting a number of five-inning no-hitters along the way. Bandon and Toledo both put up good fights, especially on the road, but the Brave never faltered.
The only loss came in the season opener to Brookings-Harbor, which rallied in the seventh to win. That Bruins team has just two losses — to the No. 1 and No. 4 teams in Class 4A.
Despite the strong regular season, which included three straight shutouts in a tournament win in California and a good nonconference win at Kennedy, Reedsport is ranked just fifth in Class 2A-1A (Kennedy is ranked No. 3 despite the loss to the Brave and one other foe. Knappa and Monroe, both 22-1, are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 and Umpqua Valley Christian, which is 23-3, is ranked No. 4.
That means Reedsport’s only guaranteed home game is Wednesday. If Reedsport wins Wednesday and Umpqua Valley Christian beats Culver, Reedsport will face the Monarchs in Roseburg in the quarterfinals Friday.
Reedsport’s keys to success have been three-fold — that explosive offense, the deep pitching staff and a stingy defense.
All three parts work together.
“We’ve played really well,” said Kyle Barnes. “Our pitching, our defense, our hitting — it’s all come together.”
Led by McGill, the pitching staff has thrown 12 shutouts. Tyler Thornton, Jacob Chaney, Barnes, AJ Stoltey, freshman Derek Johnson and catcher Griffin Lavigne have all taken turns on the mound and all been successful.
“We’ve got a great pitching staff,” Reedsport coach Jason Lavigne said.
And he plans to use all of them if the Brave make a deep run in the postseason.
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“We’d like to have every pitcher available every game through the playoffs,” he said. “That’s my goal.”
That means limiting the pitch counts in the early rounds so the pitchers can come back with a schedule that includes the second round Wednesday, the quarterfinals Friday, the semifinals next Tuesday and the championship game next Friday.
The pitchers have thrived both because of the defense and the ability to, more often than not, pitch with a lead.
“We’ve really been hitting the ball good and we’ve had solid defense all year,” McGill said. “That’s something the coaches like to preach, so our pitchers can be confident when they pitch.”
If a runner is on second base, a pitcher’s approach will be different if he is pitching with the lead or the game is tied, McGill explained.
The offense has come from throughout the offense. Jason Lavigne said two of his players are hitting over .500 and two more over .400 and as a team, Reedsport is just below .400.
McGill, Thornton, Barnes, Chaney, Lavigne, Nick Glover and John Train all have hit home runs, but that’s not the focus.
“All we’re trying to do is it 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.”
Meanwhile, the defense has been strong.
“We’ve only let up a couple of errors, and most of those are mental errors,” Barnes said. “We take a lot of ground balls at practice and take even more during batting practice.”
Reedsport hopes to put all of those elements together starting Wednesday against Glide, which beat Lost River 4-0 in the first round of the playoffs Monday.
The Wildcats are 14-10 overall.
Admission for every round of the playoffs is $8 for adults and $5 for students.