By Brad Mosher
Neah-Kah-Nie’s hold on second place in the league standings slipped away, as visiting Nestucca took the first game of a doubleheader Friday and Vernonia completed a sweep of Gaston.
The Pirates lost the first game Friday by a 10-5 margin, then came back for 9-8 victory in the second game.
In one week, the Pirates went 1-2 against Nestucca, and Vernonia blew away the Greyhounds, moving Vernonia to 6-3 in league, while Neah-Kah-Nie dropped to 6-6, just ahead of Nestucca (4-5).
The only problem for the Vernonia Loggers is they close out league play against the 8-1 Knappa Loggers.
Nestucca will close out the league with three games against winless Gaston, starting Tuesday in Cloverdale.
Neah-Kah-Nie has closed out league play, which means Vernonia could drop into a third-place tie with the Pirates if they are swept by Knappa.
If Nestucca swepts Gaston and Knappa sweeps Vernonia, the Bobcats would finish league play in second place with a 7-5 record.
The NWL playoffs will be May 17 at Pacific University in Forest Grove.
Nestucca may have jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the final game of its series with Neah-Kah-Nie Friday, but the Bobcats couldn’t hold on to the lead, losing 9-8.
The Pirates were able to avoid the sweep by scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning, but it was the seven-run sixth inning that grabbed the win.
Nestucca built up an 8-2 lead by the sixth inning.
The Pirates started their rally with a walk, a batter hit by a pitch and a Nestucca error, loading the bases.
After Nestucca pitcher Noah Chatelain got a strikeout, Josh Elinsky scored when Josh Longfellow was hit by a pitch to force the run across.
Another walk scored Sean Harth, making the score 8-4, with Nestucca still leading.
A double by Bryce Bridge scored two more runs, cutting the lead to just two.
Mychal Kelly’s double added another run and a ground out by Sam Holm pushed the tying run across.
A balk by Chatelain scored the winning run for the Pirates, who were out-hit 11 to 8 by the visiting Bobcats.