Post season berth in sight for Siuslaw baseball

Senior Henry Rankin signals that there are two outs. Rankin plays first base and catcher for the Vikings. (Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

Siuslaw takes care of Cottage Grove after two losses

May 14, 2022 — The Siuslaw Vikings are coming down the stretch of the Sky-Em League baseball season. Typical Oregon coast spring weather has forced many of the team’s games this season to be postponed. As a result, a handful of games has been rescheduled for the last few weeks of the season in order to get them in before the post season playoffs begin.

On Monday, the Vikings finished a game against Marist that had been stopped part way through earlier in the season. On Tuesday, Siuslaw faced Elmira/Triangle Lake on the road. Finally, on Wednesday Cottage Grove came to town for another make-up game.

The Viks went 1-2 in those three games, but, with just two games left in the regular season, their playoff hopes are still alive.

First, on May 9, Marist Catholic, of Eugene, came to town to finish a game that had been stopped as the result of rain on April 29. This game was all Spartans and the Viks fell 12-1.

Siuslaw got two hits on the night, one each from senior Isaac Garza and junior Ian Sissel.

The next night, on May 10, the Viks hosted the co-op team of Elmira/Triangle Lake.

The game started out well for Siuslaw.

Senior Beau Erickson singled to start the game and eventually scored on a passed ball. Fellow senior Ethan Halpin walked then scored. Finally, senior Jason Garcia scored on an error. Before Elmira knew what hit them, they were down 3-0.

After the Falcons scored in the top of the third, the Viks answered with one of their own in the bottom. The score was 4-1 after three innings.

The Vikings held the lead until the sixth, when the wheels fell off for Siuslaw and Elmira scored five runs. The Viks could not answer in their half of the sixth or in the seventh, and the game ended in a 6-4 loss for Siuslaw.

“Tonight was a tough loss,” said Tom Shinn, SHS coach. “In some instances, we hit the ball well, but right at people.”

Erickson was 1 for 3 and scored a run for the Viks. He also pitched 5 1/3 innings and struck out 4 Elmira batter.

The next night, on May 11, the Vikings headed to Cottage Grove for a make-up game with the Lions.

As they have as of late, Siuslaw started the game out strong.

Erickson opened the game with a double and eventually scored. Garza and Halpin would also score in the first and the score was 3-0 Siuslaw.

Halpin was the starting pitcher for Siuslaw and struck out 3 in 2 1/3 innings. Sophomore Andrew Jensen-Norman relieved him and, in only his second time on the mound this season, pitched well. He struck out 5 in his 3 1/3 innings. Garcia pitched the last inning, taking care of the Lions in order to finish the game.

“The pitching performances from all three of our pitchers was very good,” said Shinn. “We were limiting pitchers to 45 pitches so we had enough arms for Friday’s double header. Andrew was very economical, getting 3 1/3 innings on just 42 pitches.”

With every game very important this late in the season, the Viks kept mistakes to a minimum.

“I was pleased with our approach at the plate,” said Shinn. “One point of emphasis for us lately has been to limit strike outs and put the ball in play. We did that well today, with only four strikeouts. Defensively we played a pretty solid baseball game as well.”

With good pitching, timely hitting and tight defense, the Viks came home with an 8-3 victory.

The win against Cottage Grove was essential if Siuslaw has hopes of playing extra baseball after the regular season is over.

Twenty-four teams qualify for the OSAA 4A Baseball Playoffs. The top three teams in each of the 4A division’s six leagues along with six “at-large” teams. Currently, the 9-14 Vikings are the fifth-place team in their league and are ranked #23 in the OSAA 4A Computer Rankings.

Depending on results, which were unavailable at press time, Siuslaw is in good position for a playoff spot. As of press deadlines, the Viks could travel to Klamath Falls to face Mazama in a first round playoff game next week. That game would be a rematch of a game earlier in the season that Mazama won 9-2.

Siuslaw was scheduled to finish the regular season on Friday with a double header at home versus Marshfield. If, as expected, those games are postponed because of weather, they will be made up on Monday, May 16, starting at 3 p.m. That night, after completion of all the state’s 4A baseball games, OSAA will announce the playoff bracket and Siuslaw will know its fate.