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Red Raiders sweep AA River Dogs in Tuesday doubleheader

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | July 11, 2024 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — On a hot Tuesday evening at Larson Playfield, the Othello Red Raiders took down the AA 18U Columbia Basin River Dogs in both games of a doubleheader, winning the first game 12-2 before riding out to a 13-4 win in the nightcap. 

“We felt pretty good,” Othello head coach Sonny Garza said. “Obviously the weather was rough so we had to battle through that, but that’s something we knew coming in. We had to just work through it. The kids have been playing pretty good baseball, so we were excited coming in here and trying to play some good baseball.”

Othello struck first in the opening game Tuesday, as shortstop Sonny Salazar put the Red Raiders up 1-0 in the top of the first with an RBI single that sent home second baseman Quade Gonzalez IV. The Red Raiders added two more runs in the top of the third with RBI doubles by Gonzalez and left fielder Aaden Montes, later scoring four more runs in the top of the fourth with RBI from pitcher Kal-El Ozuna, Gonzalez and Salazar, as well as right fielder Carlos Castillo scoring on an error. 

The Red Raiders put up five runs in the top of the fifth with RBI from first baseman Jojo Garza, Castillo, Ozuna and Gonzalez. 

Ozuna got the start on the mound, pitching all five innings while surrendering two hits, one earned run, two walks and recording seven strikeouts. 

“We started off slow, then we got going in the third and fourth inning,” Garza said. “We had a good pitching performance by Kal-El Ozuna – he’s been one of our main pitchers this summer, and he’s been throwing really well for us. He’s been throwing a lot of strikes, gets to their batters and keeps us in the game.”

Gonzalez went three-for-three at the plate with three RBI, leading the team in both categories. 

“My approach was very center, so whenever I see a fastball I just hit it direct center,” Gonzalez said. “(If it’s a) Curveball, I turn my hips and hit it to left – that’s what I was doing most of the game.”

Columbia Basin’s two runs of the game came in the fourth and fifth innings, as center fielder Elijah Davis and first baseman Andre Godefroy both drove in runs. 

“Basically, just not making routine plays,” River Dogs head coach Chuck Hansen said of what led to the loss. “Not being aggressive and competing at the plate, walking a few guys … it just keeps building.”

The Othello offense got rolling early in Tuesday’s nightcap, with the Red Raiders putting up a three-run top of the first followed by a seven-run top of the second for an early 10-0 lead. Salazar, catcher Garrett Weyns, Montes, Castillo and Ozuna all drove in runs through the first two innings. 

“They were able to hit some really good shots and execute our plan, so that’s what got us going,” Garza said. 

Castillo led Othello with two hits and three RBI in the 13-4 win. Montes and Castillo both had time on the mound in the nightcap, as the duo combined for three hits surrendered, four earned runs and seven walks. 

“With the pitching we had going, our pitchers were doing good so we figured we had to hit for them,” Gonzalez said. “We just had to stay consistent throughout the whole game.”

For the River Dogs, right fielder Trenton Ralston, catcher Clayton Wolther and shortstop Javier Flores all drove in a run. Columbia Basin was held to seven hits and six runs across both games.

“We’ve just got to play better in all facets of the game, we’ve just got to get better,” Hansen said. “We’ve got to be more focused, more aggressive.”

The two teams met again on Wednesday afternoon for a doubleheader, but scores were not available in time for press deadline. The doubleheaders in back-to-back days put stress on a team’s pitching staff, Garza said. 

“It’s really tough because we know we have four games in two days and we’ve got the pitch count rules,” Garza said. “We know that we kind of have to ride pitchers, and we have to throw a lot of guys. It’s been a rough thing for us, but at the same time it’s been good because we’re able to see different kids that we don’t get to see in the spring much.”

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com. 

Box scores

Game One

RED: 1-0-2-4-5 12

RVR: 0-0-0-1-1 2

Game Two

RED: 3-7-2-1-0 13

RVR: 0-2-0-2-0 4

    River Dog first baseman Andre Godefroy, right, turns back to first base to avoid being picked off in the bottom of the first inning against Othello on Tuesday.
 
 
    River Dog shortstop Javier Flores picks up a ground ball and throws it back to first base during the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader against Othello.
 
 
    Red Raider right fielder/pitcher Carlos Castillo reaches second base during the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the AA Columbia Basin River Dogs. Castillo led the team with two hits and three RBI in the game.