Kurt Boyd delivers a fastball for the Legacy Legends against Hermiston Friday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Kurt Boyd was confident in his defense heading into Friday’s doubleheader against Hermiston Friday, and justifiably so.
Pitching all seven innings for the La Grande Legacy Legends in the first game of the twinbill, Boyd’s throwing was supported with a pair of double plays and flawless glove work in the field to spark a 7-2 victory at Pioneer Park.
The right-hander struck out two batters and gave up three walks. Boyd allowed 11 hits to Hermiston, but was able to keep the opposing offense at bay with clutch pitches when he needed them.
“He changed up speeds quite a bit, which kept guys out on their front foot,” La Grande head coach Parker McKinley said. “We recognized pretty early that (Hermiston
iston) had a lot of guys that had pretty pull-side swings, so he kept the ball down and away. When he did let the ball get inside, he was changing speeds, and they hit a lot of pop flies.”
The Legends committed no errors in the first game, and turned double plays in the third and fourth innings to escape difficult situations.
“Our team is great defensively, and I trust them with any ball hit,” Boyd said. “It’s just my job to throw strikes.”
The second double play was masterfully executed. With runners on second third, Boyd induced a flyout. Hermiston’s Tyler Sexton then tagged at third base, but La Grande right fielder Eli Childs unloaded a bullet home, and catcher J.C. Rogers easily tagged Sexton out to preserve a 4-1 lead.
“The thing that I told (Eli) that I was the most pleased with, was fundamentally it was spot-on,” McKinley said on the throw out. “He got behind the ball and came through it, caught it and makes a throw that could be cut. J.C. talks to Drew Hively at first and had him let the ball go through, and the kid was out by four steps. It was executed very well.”
Leading the offense was Ray Jimenez, who was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Rogers also had two hits, including an RBI double that helped the Legacy Legends take a 2-0 first-inning lead.
“We hit the ball finally,” Jimenez said. “It does a lot to get ahead early, and gives us more of a chance to win.”
Boyd had pushed the lead to a three-run margin with an RBI single in the bottom of the third, and the second run of the inning made it 4-1.
The Legacy Legends put it away for good in the sixth inning with three runs, highlighted by a two-run single off the bat of Jimenez.
La Grande’s offense picked up right where it left off in the second game, which ended in a 6-3 victory. Aaron Goss belted an RBI double over the Hermiston left fielder’s head, and Jake Workinger’s bloop single knocked in Goss to take a 2-0 lead.
Brad Bell poked a bases loaded RBI single in the third inning, and after La Grande scored one on an error, Isaiah Cranford drove in Bell with his single, putting his team up 5-0.
That was plenty of offense, as Childs, Rogers and Bell combined to hold Hermiston to just six hits. Hermiston threatened with a pair of runs in the seventh inning, but Bell got back-to-back fly outs to end the game.
“When the kids showed up today, they were pretty focused and ready to go,” McKinley said. “I think we played the way we’re capable of playing, and we got two wins.”
La Grande got back over .500 Friday, pushing their record to 17-16, and will now end the regular season with games against Milton-Freewater in consecutive days, beginning today at home.
for Enterprise in both the 1,500 and 3,000, and his head coach doesn’t mince words when talking about his place in the history of the school.
“He’s the best boy distance runner I’ve ever had,” Enterprise head man Dan Moody said.
Helping Ribich raise the bar even higher in his final season at Enterprise was increase in size that stemmed from his attitude.
For the full story, see Monday's issue of The Observer