By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
A gutsy performance in game two of a doubleheader against the South Umpqua Lancers almost completed the sweep for the Brookings-Harbor High School baseball team, but the Bruins fell just short as they split with the Lancers Friday evening.
Senior Tyler Parke overwhelmed the Lancers in the opener as the Bruins (2-4, 3-9) took game one 7-3.
In the nightcap, the Bruins trailed 11-0, but clawed their way back to 11-8 heading into the seventh inning before the game was called because of darkness.
Game one: South Umpqua 3, Brookings 7
In game one of the doubleheader, the Bruins struck first as they scored a lone run in the bottom of the first inning.
With two outs, Parke kept the inning alive with a single up the middle.
After stealing second base, Parke came home when Patrick Carper ripped an RBI single to left to put the Bruins up 1-0.
Parke struck out the side in the second, but South Umpqua was able to tally a run in the top of the third to even the score at 1-1.
Fred Corpening led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk and then stole second and third base.
Corpening later came home on a bloop single by Nick Taresh to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
With runners on first and second, Carper gave the Bruins a cushion as he crushed a ball over the fence in left center field for a three-run home run.
"It felt really good," Carper said. "That was my first one at the varsity level. I didn't even know it was gone until I got to first base."
The home run was also the first of the year for any of the Bruins.
In the fourth inning, the Bruins added to their lead as Taresh knocked in Dustin Paradis, who led off the inning with a single.
Taresh then scored later in the inning on a bad throw by the Lancers.
Ross McGrath relieved Parke in the top of the seventh inning, but the Lancers were able to add two runs on two errors and a passed ball by the Bruins.
However, McGrath stuck with it and struck out the final batter of the game to seal a 7-3 victory for the Bruins.
Parke struck out eight batters and didn't walk anyone while only giving up three hits in six innings of work.
"Tyler looked good and his breaking ball was working nice," Carper said. "The whole team did well."
Carper led the Bruins with a pair of hits, including the big home run, and four RBIs in game one.
Taresh and Parke also recorded two hits apiece and each scored two runs. Paradis recorded the other Bruin hit.
The Bruins also walked nine times in the opener, with Corpening, Joey LaThorpe and Bobby Hansen each drawing two walks apiece.
Game two: South Umpqua 11, Brookings 8
After trailing 11-0 after the top of the fifth inning, the Bruins scored eight runs in the final two innings to make a valiant attempt at a late comeback.
"They showed a lot of character to fight back like that," Coach Pat Berkowitz said. "They could have pitched in the tent, but they didn't. They kept swinging the bats till the end. I'm really happy with the effort the kids gave us tonight."
The Lancers put up four early runs in the first inning off starting pitcher Corpening, and then added a lone run in the second and third for a 6-0 lead.
Carper came in to pitch for the Bruins in the fourth and gave up a solo home run to Bo Younker.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Lancers scored three runs on one error and then a fourth on a wild pitch to give them an 11-0 advantage.
But the Bruins did not go away quietly as they extended the game by posting three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Taresh led off the inning with a double to the wall and then the Lancers intentionally walked Parke to give the Bruins runners on first and second.
After Carper reached base via a Lancer error, LaThorpe ripped a two-run single to left that scored Taresh and Parke.
Jacob Eszlinger then hit a bloop single to shallow right field to bring home Carper to cut the lead to 11-3.
Parke re-entered the game in the sixth inning and struck out two Lancers to give the Bruins another shot and putting runs up on the board.
Although the sun was beginning to set, the Bruins were just warming up in the bottom of the sixth.
Carper hit an RBI single to left to score Taresh from second for the Bruins first run of the inning.
Parke then stepped on home plate as LaThorpe grounded out to third base.
With two outs, the Bruins would have to continue their rally with little room for error.
After Hansen drew a walk, Eszlinger kept the Bruins going with a single down the third base line to score Carper and bring the score to 11-6.
South Umpqua brought in a new pitcher, but he didn't have anymore success as he walked Ryan Gardner after a long battle to load the bases.
Paradis was patient in the box in his next at-bat as he drew his second walk of the game to bring home Hansen.
The Bruins' final run of the inning came as Corpening was hit by a pitch that scored Eszlinger from third.
The Lancers then took their time changing pitchers once again and Younker was finally able to get the last out of the inning.
Although the momentum was in the Bruins' favor, daylight was not, as the umpire had to call the game because of darkness.
"That was definitely a good last inning," Carper said. "We just ran out of daylight."
Taresh, Carper and Eszlinger each had two hits while Parke, LaThorpe, Gardner and Paradis each recorded one. LaThorpe led the Bruins with three RBIs in game two and Taresh, Parke and Carper each scored two runs apiece.
The next game for the Bruins will be at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22 as they travel to play the Sutherlin Bulldogs.