KLAMATH FALLS — Only four days removed from a dramatic comeback victory over Class 4A powerhouse Hidden Valley, the Phoenix High baseball team on Tuesday could have been forgiven for letting its guard down against struggling Klamath Union. The Pirates instead unleashed their full arsenal against the Pelicans and continued their late-season surge with a 16-0, five-inning victory at Kiger Stadium.
“We’ve been talking all week in practice about staying focused because Klamath Union is always tough,” Phoenix head coach Bill Hutchinson said. “It looks like we’re starting to peak at the right time. We’re playing our best baseball right now.”
Freshman pitcher Ethan Humble struck out 10 in the run-rule shortened shutout, Freedom Martinez went 3-for-4 with a triple and five RBIs and Phoenix scored 10 runs in the third inning to all but secure its third straight victory heading into the last weekend of the regular season.
The win improves the Pirates to 14-9 overall, 7-6 in the Skyline Conference, and they can make it five in a row Saturday, when they host the Pelicans. Klamath Union fell to 5-16, 2-11 in league play.
After using a two-out rally in the seventh to stun Hidden Valley on Saturday the Pirates made sure early on a similar miracle would be unnecessary Wednesday, scoring three in the first on their way to taking a 14-0 lead through three innings.
In the third-inning explosion Phoenix scored all its runs with two outs. The hit parade included a two-run triple by Martinez, a two-run double by Brennen Watts and a two-run double off the wall by Kade Beer.
Phoenix’s hard-throwing freshman made sure the lead stood by dominating the Pelicans in an 84-pitch effort that included zero walks and improved him to 4-1.
“We brought him up after seven games and he’s done extremely well,” Hutchinson said. “We couldn’t ignore it. He shows the confidence of an upperclassman up there.”
Also for the Pirates, Mason Stella went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Liam Serean, Kevin Botermans and Chase Courtney had two hits apiece.
Phoenix 31(10) 02 — 16 16 1
Klamath Union 000 00 — 0 5 6
Humble and Merriman; Bowman, Mick (3), Jones (4) and Short. W — Humble (4-1). L — Bowman. 2B — PH: Botermans, Bre. Watts, Stella, Beer. 3B — PH: Martinez.
PHOENIX 12, KLAMATH UNION 2, 5 inn.: At Klamath Falls, Brooke Kentner crushed her fifth home run of the season and had two of Phoenix’s 15 hits, Emma Truex pitched five solid innings and the Pirates won for the second time in their last three games.
Kentner went 2-for-3, scored three runs and hit a two-run homer in the third to help the Pirates (7-13, 3-10 Skyline) take a 6-0 lead through three.
Kate Hanson and Halie Bowman had three hits apiece for the Pirates, with Bowman’s RBI double highlighting the Pirates’ three-run first inning. Also for Phoenix, Abigail George went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Truex, a sophomore righty, struck out six and walked three to pick up the win and improve to 4-4.
For Klamath Union (3-17, 0-13), freshman catcher Mercedes Charkins hit a double and a triple.
Phoenix 303 06 — 12 15 1
Klamath Union 000 20 — 2 6 1
E. Truex and Bowman; Allred and Charkins. W — E. Truex (4-4). L — Allred. 2B — PH: Bowman; KU: Charkins. 3B — KU: Charkins. HR — PH: Kentner (5).