ELGIN ROUTS UNION IN PLAYOFF
By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
The Wapiti League playoffs are over. Let the playoffs begin.
Elgin's resounding 11-1 victory Tuesday over Union put the Huskies into a district tournament game Saturday against Joseph. Union, meanwhile, must play Nyssa in the tournament's opener at noon at Eastern Oregon University's Snowflake Field.
Nyssa beat Joseph 8-0 on Monday to determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds at district.
The ties for first and third place in the league standings forced the two playoff games, which Elgin coach Gordy Simons called a blessing.
"We got an extra game, and it was meant to be," Simons said.
For Union or Elgin, the difference between playing Joseph or Nyssa is not that great. Joseph and Nyssa beat Elgin and Union by an average score of 14-3 this season.
Elgin lost to Nyssa by 22 runs Saturday.
"I don't know what happened against Nyssa. I don't know if it's the Nyssa myth or what," Simons said.
Elgin didn't play the same type of game Tuesday against Union. The Huskies jumped all over Union pitcher Shae Prince from the start, scoring seven runs in the first inning.
"The kids had more patience at the plate," Simons said. "They needed that. That's their best game of the year."
Union's defense contributed five errors in five innings.
"We had kids, for whatever reason, who didn't show up mentally," Union coach Greg Poor said. "We struggled from the beginning to the end."
Elgin ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan McKone drove in a run with a single to make it 10-1, then Blake Eckstein scored from third base on a passed ball to end it.
McKone had three hits, including a two-run single in the first inning. Charlie Schumacher had two two-run doubles, one in the first and one in the second inning.
Skyler Payne also drove in two runs in the first inning with a double.
Mike Maley drove in Union's only run with a single in the third.
Eckstein gave up just four hits on the mound and since he didn't throw that many pitches, he likely will see some time on the mound Saturday against Joseph, Simons said.
Codi Burgess will probably pitch as well, Simons added.
"We just have to get ready for the big game," he said. "We have to play like we did today."
Union 001 00 1 4 5
Elgin 720 02 11 10 0
Prince, Maples (5) and Maples, Prince (5); Eckstein and Burgess. WP Eckstein. LP Prince.
Union hits Maley, Maples, Prince, Goodman. RBI Maley.
Elgin hits Burgess, Davis 2, McKone 3, Payne, McDonald, Schumacher 2. 2B Davis, McKone, Payne, McDonald, Schumacher 2. RBI McKone 3, Payne 2, Schumacher 4.