UNION/COVE’S TY COON struck out seven in five innings of work in the Bobcats’ Game 1 victory over Wallowa/Imbler Monday. Union/Cove improved to 5-1 in the Special District 7 with the sweep. CASEY KELLAS / The Observer
UNION — Union/Cove picked up a pair of important wins over Wallowa/Imbler Monday in Special District 7 play. The Bobcats used solid pitching and timely hitting to sweep the Cougars 5-1, 6-3 and move into first place in league.
“We needed these wins and were able to get them,” coach Greg Poor said. “These were huge for us.”
The Bobcats improve to 5-1 in league, while the Cougars drop to 5-3. Elgin is right there at 4-2.
“This puts us one game up in league, and gives us a little wiggle room with Elgin. Not much, though,” Poor said.
The Bobcats took Game 1 behind a strong pitching performance by Ty Coon. Coon made a habit of working out of jams in almost every inning he pitched, as Wallowa/Imbler stranded runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings, then had a runner thrown out at home in the fifth.
Braxten Anderson broke open a scoreless game in the second inning when he scored on a overthrow at first base. Then Marshall Short scored when a throw to second on a steal attempt sailed into center field. Coon then came up with an RBI single to make it 3-0 in favor of the hosts.
A sacrifice fly by Anderson in the third brought home Kaleb Poor. Brazen Wellington was then awarded home on an obstruction penalty by Wallowa/Imbler catcher Casey Robertson, and the Bobcats went up 5-0.
The Cougars got their lone run in the bottom of the fourth when Andrew Fullerton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. But that was all the Cougars could muster off of Coon, who went five innings and struck out seven.
Wesley Conrad took the loss, but finished with seven strikeouts. Dalton Opie sat down one in relief for Union/Cove.
Coon finished two for four at the plate.
Game 2 was a matchup of two of the best pitchers in the league, Fullerton and Poor.
The Cougars got to Poor right off the bat in the first inning. Fullerton got a one-out double before coming home to score on an RBI double by Conrad to put Wallowa/Imbler up 1-0.
But the Bobcats instantly responded in the bottom of the first on back-to-back doubles by Coon and Brenlon Moore to tie it at one. An RBI on a fielder’s choice by Opie put the Bobcats up 2-1.
Both pitchers settled down after that and allowed nothing over the next couple of innings. But Union/Cove was able to break the game open in the fourth.
After Wellington got on base to start the inning, he later came home to score on an error at first. An RBI double by Coon, followed by a two-run single by Moore stretched the Bobcats’ lead to 6-1.
“We left a handful of runners out there which is frustrating. But they (the players) are getting frustrated with that, too, which is good. They are starting to execute,” Coach Poor said of the Bobcats’ hitting.
The Cougars were able to get a run in the fifth when Jessy Lawrence scored on a throw to first that ricocheted off the helmet of Spencer Shelton. Wallowa/Imbler got another in the seventh on an RBI single by Shelton, but the lead proved to be too much to overcome and the Bobcats were able to seal the sweep.
Poor struck out five in six innings, while Fullerton sat down nine. Opie again struck out one in relief.
“Dalton did a great job coming in and closing those games out for us,” Coach Poor said.
Coon was two for three, while Lawrence went two for three for the Cougars.
Wallowa/Imbler will play Elgin May 11, while Union/Cove will be back in action Friday at Pine Eagle.