JOSEPH - There was no joy in Mudville, which was Wallowa, thanks to a hailstorm that came close May 19 to canceling the 2A district baseball playoffs, before there was word that a dry field could be found 24 miles east.
So players from Nyssa, Vale, Union and Grant Union piled into buses and determined spectators followed in cars to Joseph's grassy ballfield, where the sun shined on Vale and Nyssa, but Union and Grant Union still had rain clouds overhead.
Vale and Union finished the game they started in Wallowa, with Vale winning, 12-5, and then Nyssa pounded Grant Union, 22-6, ending the Prospectors' season under finally sunny skies, but no amount of sunshine was going make the loss look any better.
The weekend before, Grant Union swept a doubleheader from Nyssa, 15-5 and 17-5.
It wasn't the Pros' day. Nyssa scored four runs in the first inning, two in the second, four in the third and then lowered the boom with 12 runs in the fourth.
GU responded meekly, plating three runs in the third inning, two in fourth and one in the fifth, the last at-bat of a 17-10 season that never got out from under the cloud of following a state championship team.
Nyssa beat Union, 7-3, the next day to advance with Vale to state competition.
Nyssa 22, Grant Union 6First inning: Travis Heiple started for GU. The first pitch he threw to Nyssa leadoff batter Anthony Holcomp was a ball, and the second was smacked into centerfield for a single. After a fly out and a walk, Paul Jones hit a long double to the outfield fence to drive in two runs. Braden Bair hit an infield single, then Patrick Blanchard's ground out to short put runners on second and third. Nick Hartley's single to center scored Jones, and then Blanchard scored when GU shortstop DJ Lippert couldn't handle a grounder by Frank Skeen.
Mark Beck started for Nyssa. He got two outs before he walked Heiple and gave up a single by DH Tyler Roberts. Chance Johns walked to load the bases, but Beck got out of the inning by getting Zach DeRosier to fly out to right field.
Second inning: Nyssa scored two runs on one hit and three GU errors.
Third inning: Heiple got the first two batters, including his only strikeout. Beck hit a single to center, followed by a bunt single by John Bauer. GU catcher Johns was all over the play, including a good throw and a nice stretch by Ben Holland at first, but they couldn't catch the speedy Bauer. After Jones drove in a run with a long single, that was it for Heiple, who moved to shortstop and Cash Wenick took the mound.
Bair welcomed Wenick to the game with a monster home run over the centerfield fence, 370 feet away to drive in three runs.
In GU's half, leadoff hitter Taylor Myers was hit by a pitch, Heiple walked and then Roberts hit a ground-rule double to centerfield to drive in a run. Johns followed with a single that drove in two runs.
Fourth inning: After two walks, a force at second put runners on the corners. Bauer hit a shot to first that at the last moment took a wacky bounce over Holland, who desperately tried to grab it with his bare hand, but it got away into right field, and two runs scored.
Two more walks sandwiched a nice double steal and the bases were loaded. Blanchard hit a shot to short that at first looked to be an easy out, but the ball had eyes and another wacky bounce went Nyssa's way and two runs scored.
Johns came in to pitch and promptly struck out Hartley for the second out. Frank Skeen hit a single to drive in a run. Facing Logan Skeen, Johns balked in a run, and then Skeen's single drove in another run. Two more walks loaded the bases, and in came Alec Oliver to relieve Johns.
Oliver walked Bauer for another run and then gave up two hits that drove in the final runs.
Gregg Waggoner led off GU's half with a single. He went to second on Myers ground out, and scored on Heiple's double. Roberts' single drove in Heiple.
Fifth inning: Beck took the mound for Nyssa. Ward Branstetter's shot to third took a wacky bounce into left for a single, and then Keldon Martin walked. The runners advanced on Holland's long foul ball that was caught for the first out. Henry Brock walked to load the bases. Waggoner's fly ball out to left scored Branstetter.
Grant Union 16, Elgin 4To keep their season alive, the Prospectors had to beat the Huskies, which they did May 17 at home.
The Pros scored seven runs in the first inning, four in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth. The Huskies got one run in the first inning and three in the fourth.
Three GU pitchers - Travis Heiple, Alec Oliver and Cash Wenick - combined for nine strikeouts.