With a sweep of Dodgeville on Sunday, July 7, Oregon earned a chance to play its way into the playoffs for the second straight year.
The Orioles kept those playoff hopes alive after 1-0 and 9-5 wins at Oregon High School. Those came on the heels of a 7-5 loss to Argyle on Thursday, July 4.
Oregon (5-6) is tied with West Middleton for third in the Western Section North Division.
“It’s big for us because we have been struggling lately,” shortstop Dom Maurice said. “I think we have to pretty much win out to make the playoffs. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Player-manager Parker Debroux said he hopes it’s the start of a streak.
“We showed a lot of fight and there is a lot of positives we can build on,” Oregon. “We have to stop getting pushed around by teams.”
Hitting with runners on base has been a focus for the Orioles.
“I think a lot of it is getting in the cages and putting in the work,” Maurice said. “I don’t think we have been doing great with that. Every chance we get to get more cuts in has been very helpful.”
Oregon 9, Dodgeville 5
The Orioles took advantage of Dodgeville relief pitcher Kane Kleiss’ wildness on Sunday to pull out a victory in the second game to sweep a doubleheader from the Knights in Oregon.
Kleiss walked four in the top of the seventh inning, including a pair of bases-loaded free passes. Oregon also scored two runs on wild pitches by Kleiss.
Several players on the Orioles noticed Kleiss’ lack of control as he was warming up.
“We were saying in the dugout to have a small zone because he had been struggling hitting it,” Maurice said. “The approach was definitely to be really patient up there and make him work for it.”
Adam Heath tossed two shutout innings in relief to get the win. He struck out two and walked one. Ian Schildgen started and lasted three innings, giving up three runs on one hit. He struck out two and walked four. Brandon Knobel tossed two innings in relief and gave up two runs on three hits.
Oregon’s Pat Sommers went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Logan Laski went 2-for-4, and Maurice was 2-for-5 with one RBI.
Maurice reached on an error in the first and scored on Schildgen’s RBI double. Maurice delivered an RBI single to left center in the second to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
The Orioles extended their lead with a two-run third. Laski led off the inning with a line-drive double to left. Pat Sommers then singled to left. Heath came through with an RBI single to center, and Jack Sommers drove in a run with a groundout to extend the Orioles’ lead to 4-1.
The Knights rallied with two runs in the bottom of the third and tied it 4-4 on an RBI double.
Oregon 1, Dodgeville 0
The first game was a pitchers’ duel. In the eighth, Nate Reuter reached on a dropped fly ball in right field and Jack Sommers scored to give the Orioles a walk-off victory.
Logan Ludlum pitched a complete-game, seven-hit shutout to earn the win. He struck out two and walked three.
Debroux coached Ludlum the past two years at Platteville High School and knows what he’s capable of on the mound.
“I talked to him last night (Saturday) and told him he would have to go all seven or more and clutch up and he did,” Debroux said. “Logan gets ahead in the count, and he has a pretty good curveball to set them down with. He pitched out of his mind.”
Maurice said the first game was a struggle hitting.
“We have always started slow,” he said. “We have tried to get better at that. This (second) game everyone was fixing their approaches. People adjusted and stopped popping up and started lining it.”
Argyle 7, Oregon 5
The Beavers’ Bryan Ritschard delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth that proved to be the game-winning run against the Orioles last Thursday.
Oregon and Argyle were locked in a 5-5 tie going into the eighth. The Beavers scored one run in the eighth and one in the ninth.
Oregon’s Noah Brindley and Will Reinicke each went 2-for-3. Schildgen also went 2-for-4.
Brindley pitched six innings and surrendered three earned runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked two. Heath tossed three innings in relief and gave up two earned runs on four hits, and struck out one.
Argyle’s Dylan Schwitz went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.