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BBCC splits doubleheader against Yakima Valley

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | April 13, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Big Bend Community College baseball wrapped up an early-season series, splitting the final two games with Yakima Valley College on Sunday afternoon at Big Bend.

Yakima Valley jumped on top of the Vikings early in the first game, holding an 11-0 advantage by the end of the fourth inning. Big Bend finally managed to find the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to trim the deficit any more and fell in seven innings, 13-1.

Colin Cortez took the loss on the mound for the Vikings, surrendering seven runs on six hits with three errors and no strikeouts. Austin Bunn, Dax Lindgren and Justice Dillman all came in to pitch relief, surrendering six runs on eight hits combined.

The Vikings were outhit 14-6.

Big Bend managed to get the bats going early in the second game, pouring in five runs in the bottom of the first to jump ahead early. The Vikings outhit the Yaks 10-5 on their way to the win.

Starting pitcher Dylan Gardener finished with 11 strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, giving up just three runs on three hits. Michael Demand and Hunter Gibson pitched relief, Gibson setting a new personal speed record at 91 mph.

Gibson tossed 2 1/3 innings, surrendering no hits with six strikeouts.

Sykler Sadora knocked a home run for Big Bend, finishing 2-2 from the plate with three runs earned and two RBIs. Zach Valdez finished 3-4 from the plate, with a pair of RBIs and a double. Brandham Ponce finished 2-4, also with two RBIs and a double.

The Vikings’ win was their second in what has been, at times, a rocky start to the spring schedule.

Big Bend head coach Jameson Lange said he credits the struggles to inconsistency in execution on both sides of play. On the mound, he said, the team’s starting pitchers have to do a better job of controlling the game from the outset.

“Starting pitchers need to do a better job of getting ahead in the count or putting away hitters, either with soft contact or a strikeout when the opportunity is given,” Lange said. “I think that’s the biggest thing.”

On the offensive side, he said, batters are falling behind in the count and not doing a good enough job of capitalizing on timely hits to bring in runners.

“I don’t know how many times we’ve had runners left on base this year,” Lange said.

The Big Bend head coach said the team has the talent and just needs to work on rediscovering the competitive edge they need on the field. Lange said a lot of his players have spent a great deal of time away from competition, most of the players getting little to no season last spring and nothing at all in the fall.

“The talent is through the roof and these kids all come from winning programs,” Lange said. “The fact is that here’s a bunch of competitors that haven’t competed for almost two years. Now that feeling is so uncomfortable when guys aren’t used to failing, they don’t know what to do.”

Lange said the Vikings aren’t strangers to getting off to slow starts, having started the 2019 season 1-8 before setting a school record for wins. After coming up against two of the top teams in the NWAAC, Lange said he’s confident the results will even out as the Vikings get back into the swing of competition.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Big Bend's Skyler Sadora watches for the pitch as he inches away from first base on Sunday afternoon against Yakima Valley.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Dax Lindgren pitches for the Vikings in the first game of the day on Sunday versus Yakima Valley College at Big Bend Community College.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Big Bend's Eric Mast takes a swing at home plate against Yakima Valley on Sunday afternoon at Big Bend Community College.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

Big Bend Community College's Connor Cook slides into first base as Yakima Valley look to make the play in the first matchup of the afternoon in Moses Lake on Sunday.