COOS BAY — Marshfield’s baseball team entered Friday’s doubleheader with visiting Marist Catholic knowing it needed to sweep the Sky-Em League champion Spartans to have a shot at the Class 4A Showcase.
The Pirates challenged the Spartans in both games, but miscues made them come up, as they fell 6-3 and 11-8, ending their season.
Instead of preparing for more games this week, the Pirates involved in traditional winter sports, which are being played at the end of the school year this year, joined those squads.
Marshfield finished 9-6 in the shortened season, the Pirates’ first winning season in recent years. It was Marshfield’s first winning record in league play since the Pirates went 8-7 in the Far West League back in 2015.
The Pirates were just 5-10 in their most recently completed season (the 2020 season was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic).
“We’re really improved,” Marshfield coach Floyd Montiel said.
The Pirates also are still relatively young, with just one senior — Merrick Henderson.
And they have a strong core of pitchers including three sophomores.
“We have a big group of juniors,” said Ezra Waterman, one of those key juniors. “The sophomores really stepped it up this year.”
Sophomores Drake Rogers, Landon Croff and Luke Parry were three of the four pitchers who worked the most innings this season, along with Dom Montiel, the coach’s son and another of the juniors.
“They’re only going to get bigger and better (next year),” Floyd Montiel said.
Marshfield also had a solid offense at times this year.
The biggest weakness was when the Pirates were in the field.
“As a defense, we’ve got to clean it up,” Waterman said. “We have a lot of errors and they’ve cost us a lot of runs.”
That was the case Friday.
Marshfield led the first game 1-0 through three innings as Dom Montiel was pitching a gem.
Then the defense got sloppy and Marist Catholic scored six runs in the fourth. All-told, the Pirates committed eight errors and Marist had just five hits.
Miguel Velazquez scored two runs and Wyatt Peck had a run and hit. DJ Daugherty had the only other hit and an RBI.
In the second game, the Spartans jumped in front 6-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth before Marshfield had its best inning, in part because of a few Marist Catholic miscues (the Spartans had six errors in the nightcap), and also because of timely hitting.
Suddenly the Pirates pulled even at 6-all.
“They battled,” Floyd Montiel said of the squad’s effort in the nightcap. “They had good energy.”
He noted the Pirates also had taken a better approach at the plate in the second game.
Ultimately, the Spartans scored five more runs in the fifth on a combination of infield singles, an error, a walk, a hit by pitch and a timely two-run single by AJ Sargent.
The Pirates added a couple of runs in the second half of the inning, but couldn’t overcome the deficit.
Peck and Dom Montiel had two hits each, with Peck scoring two runs and driving in one and Montiel scoring one and driving in two. Waterman also had two RBIs, to go with a run and Daugherty had two hits and a run. Velazquez again scored two runs. Henderson also scored a run in his final game.
The losses ended the strong season.
“It was definitely a positive for Marshfield baseball,” Waterman said.
Floyd Montiel noted the big focus moving forward.
“We need to develop a defensive mentality that doesn’t exist,” he said.
But he is confident and excited about the group moving forward.
“I’m proud of them,” he said. “We’re going to regroup. We’re going to send them off to basketball and wrestling and then get ready for (American) Legion.”
As it turned out, the Sky-Em League’s runner-up team, Junction City, was chosen for the Elite 8 showcase to go with the league-champion Spartans.