Bend led by as many as five runs in a wild Intermountain Conference baseball game at Summit on Tuesday afternoon, but the Storm loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning and brought the winning run to the plate before Cole Frey struck out the final two batters to save an 11-8 win and keep the Lava Bears undefeated in conference play.
“We made pitches when we had to,” Bend coach Adam Randall said of his pitching staff. “Sometimes we got into some tough spots, and I think guys made some really good pitches to get out of those tough spots. I’m very proud of their composure, very proud of how they handled themselves.”
Both Bend (5-0 IMC, 10-4 overall) and Summit (6-1, 9-6) scored in the first inning, but the Lava Bears really broke out in the second. Starting pitcher Marshall Davis stretched an infield hit into a double after the ball bounced off the third base bag, and Frey immediately followed with a three-run home run to left field, his first homer of the season.
The Storm struck back in the third as the first three batters reached base on an infield single, a hit batsman and a walk. Freshman Evan Scalley hit an infield single to score Alex Bailey and keep the bases loaded, and the Storm chipped out three more runs before Bend could escape the inning.
In the fifth, Cooper Simmonds hit a triple with the bases loaded to add three more runs, and in the sixth the Lava Bears took advantage of defensive mistakes to go up 11-6, their biggest lead of the game.
“It’s kind of like a roller coaster of emotions,” Frey said after the game. “You get excited (during a big inning), but we never got down at all, we just kept pushing as a team and stayed together.”
But the Storm, who entered the game as the only other IMC team without a conference loss, scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull back within striking distance. In the seventh inning, Summit’s Logan Peterson and Kincade Mickel were both hit by pitches. Frey then took the mound with one out and the top of the Storm lineup due to hit. He walked the first batter he faced, Hayden Cole, to load the bases, but induced swinging strikeouts from both Alex Bailey and Grant Tobias to clinch the win.
“We have a lot of friends on the other team, and I’d say it’s the biggest competition we have,” Frey said. “We want to try and beat our friends every game we get.”
The Bend and Summit players will soon have another chance to get the better of their friendly rivals; the teams are scheduled to meet again at Bend on Wednesday afternoon and at Summit on Friday.
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