The Grant Union/Prairie City Prospector baseball team is advancing to the first round of the state playoffs after finishing with a 14-0 record in Special District 7.

Grant Union/Prairie City will host the second round Wednesday, May 22, at Malone Field in John Day.

Prospector head coach Doug Sharp said they’ll know more about the time and opponent Friday, May 17, in the morning.

Sharp said the boys are excited about winning league and moving on to state competition.

“Once we were confident that was going to happen, then we wanted to finish league undefeated,” he said. “It’s nice that we reached both of those goals.”

He said their next goal is hanging on as the sixth seed to play at home on Wednesday, May 22.

“After that, we just need to focus one game at a time,” he said. “You never know what can happen. Baseball is a crazy sport, where if a pitcher is on, then he can be very difficult to beat.”

Grant Union/Prairie City had a three-game sweep last week in John Day, shutting down the Heppner/Ione Mustangs 12-2 May 8 and following up Saturday with 35-3 and 42-2 wins over Stanfield/Echo. All were won in five innings.

Several of the Prospectors’ younger players had a chance to play on Saturday.

“I sure appreciated the boys, that they continued to play hard but with a lot of respect,” Sharp said.

Warner Robertson, a junior, started at the mound May 8, and to keep his pitch count down, junior Tristan Morris came in three-quarters of the way through the second inning. Freshman Mason Morris closed the game.

A couple well-placed hits in the top of the first inning helped the Mustangs score two runs, but the Prospectors held off them off from there.

Grant Union/Prairie City had a double play in the top of the second inning when Robertson caught a Mustang batter’s ball off a bounce, throwing to first baseman Roen Langum for the first out. Then a runner was tagged out between third and home plate.

Prospector center fielder Cole Deiter caught flyballs for outs in the second and fourth innings.

Grant Union/Prairie City was ahead 9-2 going into the bottom of the fourth.

Facing Mustang pitcher Tyler Carter, a senior, Mason Morris singled, and pinch runner Parker Neault, a freshman, came in. Damion Young, a junior, then hit to left center, sending Neault home.

Junior Taylor Hunt was out at first, but advanced Young to third. Then Tristan Morris doubled, and Young scored a run.

While sophomore Logan McCluskey was up to bat, Tristan stole third. Then McCluskey sent his teammate home on a triple.

Mason Morris pitched a complete fifth, throwing two strikeouts in the inning, and the Prospectors took the 10-run victory.

The Prospectors shook hands with many of the spectators afterward, thanking them for attending the game.

Mustang head coach Tim Wilkins said his team made little mistakes in the game.

“They’re a good team,” he said of Grant Union/Prairie City. “I think they’re the best team we played all year.”

As the Prospectors continue to prepare for the path ahead, Sharp said his team will focus on their own preparation.

He said he appreciates his team’s unselfish attitude.

“Of course, they want to get a hit every time up or field every ball that comes their way, but if they do make a mistake, they don’t let that get them down,” he said. “They stay very positive. They just keep competing.”

He added, “It’s one of the reasons why we don’t ever panic when we get down.”

The Eagle will post details about the upcoming state playoff game on our website, myeaglenews.com, and at our Blue Mountain Eagle Facebook page as soon as information becomes available.

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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