Neah-Kah-Nie gets berth in state tournament
Neah-Kah-Nie won the district baseball championship in five innings Sunday with an 11-1 decision over Lincoln.
By Brad Mosher
The Pirates jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never looked back.
Although Lincoln scored once in the bottom of the first, the Pirate batters easily handled Lincoln’s pitching, and added another four runs in the top of the second inning.
The Pirates added another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth on the way to the lopsided win.
The Pirates return less than a week later to Newberg’s Renne Field for the state tournament.
Neah-Kah-Nie finished the tournament undefeated (4-0) and outscored their opponents by a 57-16 margin. All of the wins came early because of the 10-run rule.
The Pirates’ clinched the title with two runs in the top of the fifth inning, then shutting down a Lincoln rally in the bottom of the inning. The second seeded squad put two runners on base with two out but that was all they could muster.
It was a grounder by Keygan Wagner in the top of the inning that scored Ben Holm, building a 10-1 lead with two outs.
But a wild pitch on a full count to Parker Hopkins gave him a walk and scored Henry Gernert from third.
That gave the Pirates a 10-run lead, but Lincoln still needed to have an chance to cut into the lead before the game could be called.
Pressure pays off
Rob Herder, the Neah-Kah-Nie coach, praised his team’s play throughout the tournament.
From the opener, which the Pirates won by a 15-5 margin Friday evening, to Sunday’s doubleheader win to claim the title, the coach focused on how well his team had performed.
“We continue to hit the ball and run the bases really well,” Herder said after Friday’s win. “I considered it a pretty strong win.”
The coach was already looking ahead. “It would be a fantastic accomplishment if we could make it to the next tournament,” he said Friday.
By Sunday afternoon, that assessment by the Pirate coach hadn’t changed. And the team had accomplished the goal he set for them – to qualify for the state tournament.
The state tournament will start Thursday at Renne Field in Newberg, Herder said. The brackets haven’t been drawn up yet so the coach doesn’t know which team will be the Pirates’ next opponent.
In Sunday’s semifinal win, Herder said it was the Pirates’ pressure which help break Gaston on the way to an 11-1 win that put the coastal squad in the championship game.
Gaston just couldn’t handle the Pirates bunting at the plate, the coach said. “Every single bunt play was designed to move the runner. We scored four runs in the first and more in the second. It just seemed like we were going to be that team to put pressure on them (Gaston) in every inning.”
Win opener easily
Thanks to a Dinah Schultz single in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Neah-Kah-Nie Pirates defeated Banks 15-5 in the opening round of the district tournament Friday.
They then handed Tigard a decisive 17-7 loss, continuing a streak of shortened wins because of the 10-run rule.
In the semis, Gaston became the latest team to fall in front of the steamroller, setting up the title game.