NORTH BEND — South Douglas only had one hit in its game against South Coast in the Southern Oregon State Babe Ruth Tournament at Clyde Allen Field on Friday.
But the double by Cooper Peters was part of a three-run inning that included three South Coast errors as South Douglas moved within one win of the state championship and a trip to the Pacific Northwest regionals with a 3-2 win.
South Coast needs to win Saturday and Sunday to advance to the regional tournament, which will be played in Camas, Wash. South Douglas, which gets most of its players from Glendale and Riddle, just needs to win one of the two games to advance.
“That first game is huge,” said Peters, who is from Elkton. “It gives us confidence for the rest of the weekend.”
While South Coast was leaving runners on the bases in each of the first three innings, South Douglas was getting nothing done against South Coast pitcher Ethan Halpin.
That changed in the fourth inning.
Lane Moody walked with one out, stole second and scored on Peters’ drive over the South Coast left fielder.
After a grounder to third, Peters scored on an error that allowed Daniel Lovaglio to reach base. And Lovaglio promptly scampered all the way to third on a bad pickoff throw and scored on error on another infield grounder.
That proved to be enough runs for South Douglas, even though the team only had three other runners reach base — one thrown out trying to steal second by South Coast catcher Jason Garcia.
“I think we had one bad inning,” South Coast manager Dan Rankin said. “That was the turning point in the game.”
South Coast left the bases loaded in the first and stranded runners at third in both the second and third innings, as well as in the seventh.
“We were in it until the very end,” Rankin said, adding that he was proud of his team’s fight after the bad inning.
The host team got its first run in the second, when Luke Rhodes singled, stole second and scored on an error after a single to center by Henry Rankin.
In the sixth, Jason Garcia hit a leadoff double, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
Landon Croff, who retired the final nine South Douglas hitters — six with strikeouts — gave South Coast hope with a one-out walk in the seventh, and got to third, but Justin Jenks struck out the final batter looking to give South Douglas the win.
Jenks pitched the final five innings and struck out five, while allowing two hits. He and starter Jayden Landice benefited from solid defense.
“Every game, you can’t have good hits,” said Peters, who had a busy day at shortstop including just throwing out Beau Erickson on a grounder to start the final inning. “You have to have good defense.”
Jenks said that was the case for South Douglas.
“Our defense was great tonight,” he said.
South Douglas had three errors in the first two innings, but none the rest of the way. In addition to the infielders routinely making plays, catcher Skyler Davis snagged a bunt that was popped up and Moody, the center fielder, had a running grab on a line drive, robbing Isaac Garcia of an extra base hit in the sixth inning.
Peters hit his ball nearly to the wall — it was clear as the ball came off the bat he was headed for extra bases.
“(Halpin) threw a lot of breaking balls,” he said. “I was waiting for a fast ball.”
Peters noted that he didn’t get any fastballs the next time he stepped to the plate, and was complimentary of the efforts of Halpin and Croff on the mound for South Coast.
“They pitched very well,” he said.
Dan Rankin said he told his players to keep their heads up and come back strong Saturday.
“Tomorrow is another day,” he said.
Six members of the squad were part of the South Coast 13-year-old team that made it to the regional tournament in Calgary last summer.
Now they need to win both Saturday and Sunday to get to this year’s tournament.
South Douglas 3, South Coast 2
Jayden Landice, Justin Jenks (3) and Skyler Davis; Ethan Halpin, Landon Croff (5) and Jason Garcia. 2B—SD: Cooper Peters; SC: Garcia.