The Grant Union/Prairie City Prospectors are on a five-game league winning streak after topping two league opponents in John Day with a 13-4 win over the Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii/Ukiah Rockets April 10, followed by 4-2 and 9-5 wins over the Weston-McEwen TigerScots Friday.
The April 10 game was a nail-biter until the bottom of the sixth, when Grant Union erupted with 8 runs.
“The kids are giving me more gray hairs by the minute,” quipped Prospector head coach Doug Sharp. “I wish we could have those big innings earlier in the game.”
“Tristan Morris had an incredible game at the plate for us,” Sharp said. Morris was 4 for 4 with one RBI.
The coach said the team contributed all the way through the lineup.
Logan McCluskey was 3 for 5 with three RBIs, Russell Hodge was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and Jacob Vaughan was 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Damion Young, Mason Morris and Roen Langum had one RBI each.
Grant Union’s Peyton Neault started on the mound for the Prospectors, pitching for four innings.
Warner Robertson came in for 1 1/3 innings, and Logan McCluskey closed the game with the final five outs.
“The defense has been solid for us, and the pitchers are starting to pound the strike zone more consistently,” Sharp said. “I can’t say it enough how pleased I have been with the boys and their work ethic and attitude. I also have to say again that I have a great coaching staff, and the fans have been so supportive.”
After the double sweep over Weston-McEwen Friday, Sharp said the TigerScots are young and less experienced but still brought strong competition. He said their first pitcher “did a great job.”
Robertson started pitching for the Prospectors in game one and gave up a few walks.
“The really nice thing about the kids is that sometimes they start off slow, it seems like, but they never panic,” Sharp said.
McCluskey relieved in the sixth inning.
“Logan has been a great closer for us. He’s just coming in, throwing strikes — he’s tough,” Sharp said. “He’s really, really tough.”
McCluskey also closed game two, relieving Damion Young, who came in for Mason Morris.
Sharp said he has his athletes write a quote inside their hats to remind them: “When things are not going the best, this is a time when you have to handle adversity.”
The coach keeps a little card in his own hat with words from his former college baseball coach.
It reads: “I believe in myself; I believe in my teammates; I believe something good is going to happen; I believe that through hard work, I will achieve success.”
Sharp said the most important thing is to believe something good will happen.
“In the second game, we were down 5-1,” he said. “We were really not playing well. We got 3 runs in the fifth inning, and that’s when we erupted for 4 more runs in the sixth inning, then we got an insurance run in the seventh.”
In the top of the seventh, Neault hit a double, then moved to third on a TigerScots throwing error while Young was at bat.
Young singled, sending Neault home.
“I’m really proud of the kids’ effort,” Sharp said. “This has been our theme all year. Let’s get down, let’s keep it close and then, late in the game, let’s just wear ‘em out, and then we’ll finally make our rally.”
He added, “It’s a stressful way to play a game, but it is a fun way, I guess.”
The Prospectors are ranked No. 9 among OSAA’s 2A/1A teams. They have an 8-6 overall record, 5-0 in league.
Grant Union was scheduled to face Heppner/Ione past press time Tuesday.
Their next games will be at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, hosting Sherman/Arlington/Condon.