By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
The clouds parted and the sun came out just long enough for the Brookings-Harbor High School baseball team to get in their first games of the year in a doubleheader against the Eureka Loggers Saturday.
After a couple of cancellations because of rain, the Bruins finally got a chance to take the field.
"It was nice to finally get out there," Senior Tyler Parke said. "The weather came through and it was a perfect day for baseball."
Because five members of the baseball team were part of the Bruins' second place run at the state basketball tournament, the full team only had a few practices together before their first game.
"We're going to be just fine," Coach Pat Berkowitz said. "The basketball team did a wonderful job this year and it's great to have the basketball players back. Now we'll just make due and get better as the season goes on."
Eureka took the first game of the doubleheader 15-4 in five innings, but the Bruins came back strong in game two and defeated the Loggers 5-2.
Game one: Eureka 15, Brookings 4
Six errors and a number of missed opportunities contributed to the loss in the first game as the Bruins were still shaking off the dust from the long layoff.
Patrick Carper, Bobby Hansen and Joey LaThorpe combined to pitch the five innings for the Bruins.
The Bruins trailed 7-0 after the first three innings, but answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the third.
Nick Taresh started off the rally with an infield single, followed by a single by Chase Bansemer and a walk by Parke to load the bases.
With one out, Carper hit an RBI single to center field that scored Taresh for the Bruins' first run of the game.
Hansen then stepped to the plate and hit a hard ball that the first baseman couldn't handle, allowing Bansemer to come home and keeping the bases loaded.
The final run of the inning came as LaThorpe hit a single over the head of Eureka's shortstop to score Parke and cut the lead to 7-3.
But the Bruins couldn't keep the Loggers off the board as Eureka put up two runs in the fourth inning and six more in the fifth.
Trailing 15-3, the Bruins were able to add a lone run in the bottom of the fifth as Tommy Dairy hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Fred Corpening, who led off the inning as he reached base via a Logger error.
Taresh and LaThorpe led the Bruins with two hits apiece and Bansemer, Carper and Jordan Nelson each registered one.
Game two: Eureka 2, Brookings 5
In the nightcap, a five-run sixth inning propelled the Bruins to their first win of the young season.
Parke took the mound and shutdown the Loggers for the first six innings, pitching a no-hitter before giving up two hits and two runs in the final innings.
"I felt pretty good today," Parke said. "For the first few games, it's going to take a little while for the younger players to get their reps in. But once league comes around, we'll be fine. I'm definitely not worried."
The Bruins showed marked improvement from just the first game to the second as they cut back their fielding errors from six to two.
Parke last year's Far West League Player of the Year looked exceptional on the mound as he struck out 11 batters while only giving up three walks, two hits and one earned run.
Carper also did a great job behind the plate catching the hard-throwing right-hander.
"Patrick really stepped up, had a great game and established his catching role," Parke said.
Both pitchers did an excellent job keeping runners off the bases until the Bruins exploded for six hits and five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Bansemer led off the inning with a big double to right and then stole third base while Corpening was at-bat.
Corpening then walked and stole second to set the stage for a big hit by Parke.
With runners on second and third, Parke came through as he found a gap in left and roped a two-run double to bring in Bansemer and Corpening.
Carper then smashed a double all the way to the wall in right center that knocked in Hansen who was running for Parke.
LaThorpe made it 4-0 as he hit an RBI single through the right side of the infield that scored the speedy Jacob Eszlinger running for Carper from second base.
Later in the inning, LaThorpe scored the Bruins final run of the game during a bizarre play that eventually ended the inning.
Taresh grounded out to the Loggers' shortstop and then Nelson was stranded between second and third with LaThorpe standing on third.
Nelson was able to stay alive long enough to allow LaThorpe to reach home before being tagged out to end the inning.
In a last ditch effort, Eureka tallied two runs in the top of the seventh, but the Bruins were able to hold on for the 5-2 victory.
"We showed a lot of character in that second game," Berkowitz said.
Bansemer and Parke each tallied two hits apiece for the Bruins in game two and Carper, LaThorpe and Nelson each had one.
Freshman Dustin Paradis started at second base for the Bruins and gave a solid defensive performance in both games.
The Bruins are off for Spring Break, but will be back in action at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1 with an away game against the Rogue River Chieftains.
The JV team will be home against the Chieftains at 4 p.m.