Pirates jump into second place after Gaston sweep

Neah-Kah-Nie pitcher Willie Davidson pulled off a big win for the Pirates by shutting down Gaston Friday at home. The Pirates swept the doubleheader in Rockaway Beach. – Photo by Brad Mosher

It wasn’t easy, but Neah-Kah-Nie blew up any hopes the Gaston Greyhounds had for a win Friday.
And it paid off big time for the black-clad baseball buccaneers from the beach.
The visiting Greyhounds were swept in the double header, giving the Pirates a dramatic three-game sweep of the series and catapulted the team into second place.
The Pirates’ 3-3 league record puts them right behind Knappa’s 5-1 Northwest League record and ahead of Vernonia’s 2-1 mark.
NKN rallies
In the first game, Gaston scored first, but it was also the last score they had.
In the bottom of the inning, the Pirates got off to a fast start with Josh Longfellow getting a lead-off single. Bryce Bridge and Simon Elinsky also had single with both scoring for a quick 3-0 lead.
While the Pirates sank the Gaston hopes early, the Pirate bats were busy again in the second inning when Longfellow had a double and Josh Elinsky was able to get on base by an error. After Bridge got a walk and Simon Elinsky single the four would score to build up a quick 7-1 advantage.
Josh Elinsky scored twice more, once in the fourth and then again in sixth to give the Pirates their 9-1 winning advantage.
Pirates sweep
The Pirates nearly had a shutout win in the second game, with Gaston finally scoring in the top of the fifth inning.
But even three runs were not enough to keep the Pirates from picking up an early 13-3 victory.
The Pirates scored first after Sean Harth got on base by a walk. He came around the bases to score. He wasn’t the only Pirate making the round trip. Longfellow, Josh Elinsky, Bridge, Simon Elinsky and Sam Holm all made the trip, giving Neah-Kah- Nie a 6-0 lead after two innings.
Bridge turned a single and stolen base into a score in the fourth inning, building a 7-0 lead for the hosts.
But in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Pirates exploded again with six more runs to take a 13-3 lead.
Team adapting
According to Neah- Kah-Nie coach Rob Herder, the Pirates have had some injury and illness problems which have forced the team to make some changes.
“We have had a couple of injuries and people who have been sick, so we have had to use a couple of freshmen. We haven’t quite become who we thought we were going to be in the beginning, but we are dealing with the cards that we have right now,” he said.
“We have some kids that work hard and they understand. We are doing it with just a smattering of older players and younger players. It is tough to find that combination,” the coach said.
The big innings in both games which sank the hopes of Gaston were a sign that the work the team has done on ‘swinging the bat’ has been paying off, he said.
“It is a nice group of kids and a good balance of age,” he said.
With both Vernonia and Nestucca ahead of the Pirates, Herder said it will give the team a chance to see where they are. “They are both improved programs, so we certainly have our work cut out for us.”
Herder relished the clear skies Friday. “When you get a day like today, you’d like to play about 10 games. I enjoyed being out here in a non-sleeved coat. That is a first for me this summer and this season,” Herder said, smiling.
He said that the team’s experience from the trip to Arizona earlier this season has been paying off on the diamond. “It really does help you when you come back home.”
The coach also praised the mound work of both Bridge and second game starter Willie Davidson.
“Bryce certainly has stepped up with his bat and pitching. Willie really has emerged. He (Willie) is not an overpowering pitcher, but he hits his spots.
“He put in a lot of off-season work and we’re benefitting now from that. He’s being just more consistent. We have been really happy with his progress,” the coach added.
The Pirates will be playing Vernonia as the Loggers come off their bye week, then will catch Nestucca a week later when the Bobcats come back from their league bye week, according to Herder.
After hosting Vernonia Tuesday, the team will travel to the logging town for a doubleheader Friday.
The following Tuesday (May 2), the Pirates go to Cloverdale, then host the Bobcats in a doubleheader Friday (May 5) in the final leagu games.
The Pirates will close out the final week of the regular season with a non-league doubleheader at Gold Beach May 8 on their bye week.