BAKER CITY — On a baseball team loaded with seniors, no one came up bigger for Ridgeview on Friday than sophomore left-hander Tyrus Reitz.
Reitz scattered five hits and three runs over seven innings to lead the Ravens past Baker 6-3 in the quarterfinal round of the Class 4A baseball state playoffs.
“He’s not overpowering, but he hit his spots and kept the ball down,” Ridgeview coach Josh Davis said about Reitz, who struck out three and walked one. “He’s got a change-up that’s just off-speed enough and a real slow-breaking curve.”
With the win, the Ravens (21-7 overall), the No. 6 seed in the 16-team bracket, advance to play at Klamath Falls’ Henley High, the reigning 4A state champion, in the semifinal round Tuesday. Henley (27-1), which defeated Philomath 6-3 in another quarterfinal game Friday, is the 4A bracket’s No. 2 seed.
George Mendazona led off the game with a solo home run, giving Ridgeview a 1-0 lead just three pitches into the contest. The Ravens made it 2-0 in the third inning when Mitch Springer singled Mendazona home from second base, and Garrett Dewolf put Ridgeview up 3-0 in the sixth with an RBI double.
The Bulldogs (19-9), winners of the Greater Oregon League this spring, narrowed the margin in their half of the sixth with a two-run home run that made the score 3-2. The Ravens responded with a couple of long balls of their own in the seventh as Collin Runge’s solo homer and Kahl Malott’s two-run blast gave the Raven’s a 6-2 lead. Reitz gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh before earning the complete-game victory.
“So tough,” Davis said about Reitz and the sophomore hurler’s mental approach after giving up the two late home runs.
Springer led Ridgeview’s 11-hit attack by going 3 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored. Mendazona was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and the tone-setting leadoff homer, Malott added two RBIs and a round-tripper, and Dewolf contributed a double and an RBI.
“This was probably our best overall game of the year,” said Davis, whose team made the 5 1/2-hour bus ride to Baker on Thursday night. “One walk, and only one error on kind of a fluke play.
“It was a good, solid ballgame,” he added, “but we’re not ready to be done yet.”