MILTON-FREEWATER — As Mac-Hi’s Pat Sheets slinked back to the dugout and the Umatilla Vikings celebrated, the umpires huddled. Sheets’ put-out had ended the sixth inning with Umatilla up 15-5, completing the game early under the 10-run mercy rule.
But was Umatilla really up ten runs?
After signaling to play on and sending Mac-Hi’s players out to the field, a second conference reversed the decision and brought both teams out from the dugouts to shake hands. The home scorebook, the official book, had overlooked a run during an unorthodox fourth inning. The game was over and Umatilla (1-0) had triumphed on opening day of baseball season.
He pumped his fists. He hollered and yelled. He jumped in the air toward home plate. And, according to the umpiring crew, he missed.
Dufloth was called out upon returning to the dugout, his grand slam ruled a three-run triple.
“I did get a little amped up, because I was, and I stomped on it and that was my bad,” said Dufloth, who maintained that he had landed on the edge of the plate.
“(The ruling) was disappointing but at the same time I did get over it pretty quickly...I saw (the grand slam) with my own eyes so that’s good enough for me.”
The extra run didn’t make a difference, as the Pioneers were overwhelmed. Umatilla came out swinging from the first pitch, getting hits in the first three at-bats with all three runners coming around to score.
It wasn’t so much the early hole that rattled the Pioneers, coach Mike Garcia said. It was the way Umatilla did it, with aggressive swings early in the count and steals on the base paths.
“These young men at times have a tendency to let those type of things affect their play,” the coach said. “We’ve got to play through those things and allow ourselves to stay confident and stay focused.”
Mac-Hi scored a run of its own in the bottom of the first, but couldn’t compete with the Vikings. Garcia said he counted seven errors in the game, which let Umatilla extend innings and score in bunches.
Umatilla’s Nick Snyder struck out seven batters and got the win as pitcher while leadoff batter Andres Sanguino batted 4-for-5 with a double. He also pitched the final two frames of the game, allowing one run.
Troy Kessler had the only extra-base hit for Mac-Hi, a fourth-inning double. He was 2-of-3 batting for the day.