By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
The Brookings-Harbor High School baseball team rode the arms of Patrick Carper and Bobby Hanson as the Bruins split with the Sutherlin Bulldogs Friday and earned the final playoff spot in the Far West League (FWL).
"We had two great pitching performances and only gave up two runs all day," Coach Pat Berkowitz said. "With all the injuries and adversity these young kids have faced, they've earned their way into the playoffs."
Sutherlin tried to spoil the Bruins playoff hopes by edging them out 1-0 in game one.
But after struggling to produce runs in game one, the Bruins ignited for seven runs in the fifth inning en route to a 9-1 triumph in game two.
"It was a big game for us the playoffs were at stake," Chase Bansemer said. "But we came together as a team and did what we needed to do."
The Bruins tied for third place in the league with Douglas with a 7-8 record, but the Bruins hold the tiebreaker over the Trojans as they defeated them 2-1 in the season series.
Now in the state playoffs, the Bruins (7-8, 8-13) the No. 3 seed in the FWL will have to travel to play the Sisters Outlaws (10-2, 15-9) the No. 2 seed out of the Sky-Em conference on Friday, May 16.
Game one: Sutherlin 1, Brookings 0
Friday's opening game of the doubleheader turned out to be a pitcher's duel between Carper and the Bulldogs' Zach Bennett.
The only run of the game was scored in the very first inning as the Bulldogs' Steven Jaramillo came home on a wild pitch after reaching bass on a Bruin error.
Carper and the Bruin defense stifled the Bulldog bats for the rest of the game, only giving up one more hit over the next six innings.
But the Bruins couldn't get their bats going either and only registered two hits on Bennett.
The Bruins had their opportunities to score as they drew seven walks in the game, but could not capitalize when they had runners in scoring position.
"We had our chances, but we didn't execute some things," Berkowitz said. "It's the little things in baseball that haunt you."
The Bruins missed crucial scoring opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings as they left runners in scoring position on both occasions.
Bansemer and Ryan Gardner recorded the only Bruin hits in the game.
While seven different Bruins drew walks throughout the game, they struggled to make contact with the ball, striking out 10 times.
Carper pitched an exceptional game for the Bruins, striking out seven batters while only allowing two hits and one walk in his complete game performance.
Game two: Sutherlin 1, Brookings 9
Through four innings of scoreless baseball, it seemed as if game two would resemble the first game of the day with a lone run deciding the outcome.
Hanson and Sutherlin's Jaramillo kept the game scoreless heading into the bottom of fifth inning.
The Bruin defense did a good job supporting Hanson and helping him get out of jams.
With two runners on and only one out in the top of the fourth inning, Dustin Paradis and Chase Bansemer bailed out Hanson with a tremendous double play that would have made any highlight reel.
In the fifth inning, the Bruins were able chip away at the Bulldog pitchers and blew open the game with a seven run inning.
Hanson led off the inning with a double down the first base line.
Sutherlin's Jaramillo then hit Gardner giving the Bruins runners on first and second and was replaced on the mound by Spencer Hutchings.
Paradis laid down a bunt and Sutherlin tried to throw out Hanson at third, but the lefty slid under the tag and the Bruins had the bases loaded with no one out.
On the next pitch, Fred Corpening perfected the suicide squeeze as he laid down a bunt and Hanson scored from third.
Nick Taresh showed his patience as he drew a walk, scoring Gardner and keeping the bases loaded.
Bansemer put the Bruins up 3-0 as he hit a hard single to left to bring home Paradis.
Two batters later, Joey LaThorpe walked, scoring Corpening and forcing Hutchings out of the game.
Tony Terrel-Perez came on in relief for the Bulldogs and the Bruins' Jacob Eszlinger hit into a fielder's choice that brought home Taresh. On the same play, an errant throw to third base let a quick-thinking Bansemer score, putting the Bruins up 6-0.
Hanson, who scored the first run of the inning, knocked in the final run of the inning as he hit an RBI single to right to score LaThorpe.
Sutherlin was able to get on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth as Kyle Jaukkuri hit a solo home run to bring the score to 7-1.
The Bruins added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run double by Bansemer that scored Corpening and Taresh for a final score of 9-1.
Hanson had a complete game performance on the mound for the Bruins and utilized the defense behind him, forcing the Bulldogs into lots of fly balls.
"We decided we had to win," Hanson said. "The ball was in my hand and I just tried to keep it in the strike zone. They hit a lot of flies and my outfielders (Eszlinger, Taresh and Gardner) got 'em all."
Bansemer went 2-for-4 from the plate with three RBIs in game two.
Hanson also had a pair of hits and an RBI for the Bruins and Corpening, Eszlinger and Paradis had the other Bruin hits.
LaThorpe reached base in all four at-bats walking three times and getting hit by a pitch once.
JV Bruins sweep Sutherlin
In a pair of extremely close, hard-fought games, the Bruins swept the Bulldogs 8-6 and 7-6.
"Those were a couple of pretty exciting games," Coach Keith Wallin said. "We played really well and our defense was strong."
Luke Smith pitched six-plus innings and struck out 10 batters in an 8-6 win in game one.
The Bruins led 6-0 after four innings, but the Bulldogs mounted a comeback, capped off by a four-run seventh inning.
Ross McGrath came in to close out the game for the Bruins and secured the win with the final two outs.
McGrath also went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs.
In game two, the Bruins trailed 4-1 after five innings before scoring four runs to pull ahead in the sixth.
Jordan Nelson led off the inning with a double and then scored on an RBI single by Daniel Ensley.
With two outs, Erik Olsen hit a three-run bomb over the fence to score Ensley and McGrath and put the Bruins up 5-4.
The Bruins added two more runs in the seventh and were able to hang on for the victory.
Ensley pitched the first four innings and McGrath closed out the game with three innings of relief.
Olsen went 2-for-3 in game two with three RBIs.
"All in all, it was a great way to end the season," Wallin said.