HERMISTON — Pitcher Will Paige proved Friday night that the competitive rivalry between Pendleton and Hermiston doesn’t take a full four years of schooling to foster.
“I always feel good for some reason starting against Hermiston,” the Pepsi DiamondJaxx’s starter said about his matchup with the Devin Oil Heat to close out the first day of the Hermiston Father’s Day Tournament at Weber Field in Hermiston.
Paige flashed his best stuff early in the tournament of Legion Single A teams — squads made of 14- to 16-year-olds. He struck out five batters, four in the first seven outs of the game, while tossing six scoreless innings of three-hit ball.
While Paige was dazzling the Heat, the DiamondJaxx were using patience at the plate to rally their runs. The Hermiston arms would walk 10 batters, five in the first inning when Pendleton scored four times on only one hit.
Then in the second, doubles by T.J. Hancock, Tony Papel and Zack Myers scored another two runs to give the game a blowout feel early.
Devin Oil Heat’s Dylan Caldwell came off the bench in relief of struggling starter Michael Gossler — who threw more than 60 pitches in two innings. Though the walk bug bit him a few times too, Caldwell’s pitch diversity and slower approach stymied the scoring.
“I was just trying to mix them up with my fastball, changeup,” said Caldwell, who threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run. “I was just trying to throw strikes and get ground balls to keep my team in it. Mentally too, to keep their heads up.”
The Heat put runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings but couldn’t push a run home. Austin Monahan led the team with two hits.
Myers went 3 for 3 for the Pendleton boys with a pair of RBI doubles and a walk.
The Heat play again today at 9 a.m. against Mt. Angel. Pendleton then has games at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to round out Day 2 of tourney play.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.