MIDDLETON, Idaho – The Elko baseball team could not wake up the bats in the season opener Friday evening against Eagle (Idaho) – falling in a 6-0 shutout at Middleton High School – but the Indians bounced back and hung on for a 10-8 victory with a wild frame in the bottom of the seventh inning against Middleton.
The Indians were retired one-two-three in the top of the first, two batters going down swinging.
Eagle scored two runs with two outs in the bottom half of the first – coming on consecutive doubles.
Junior Dawson Warner plated the first run of the game, scoring on a double to center field by senior Parker Schwers.
Senior Braden Guerrero capped the rally with an RBI double to left field and drove in Schwers.
In the top of the second, Elko senior Ryan Wickersham drew a leadoff walk.
The Indians’ first hit of the season came on a one-out single by junior Kaleb Martinez.
Wickersham advanced to third base on a passed ball, but the Indians were caught stealing second base – a flyout to center field ending the threat.
The Mustangs came up with another two-out run in the bottom of the second, senior Tyler Best crossing freshman Ben Ford with an RBI single to left field for a 3-0 lead.
The Indians could not cut into the deficit in the top of the third, senior Gavin Byington serving as the only baserunner after reaching on an error.
Elko kept Eagle off the board for the first time in the bottom of the third, allowing just one baserunner on a walk.
Wickersham reached base on an error in the top of the fourth with one out, but he was stranded with consecutive groundouts.
The Indians nearly scored their first run of the season in the top of the fifth, gaining a leadoff walk by junior Brycen Kelly.
Junior Landon Dente entered the game as a courtesy runner for Kelly, but the next two Elko batters were sat down in order.
With two outs, Byington singled to right field, Dente rounding third and heading for home – but he was gunned down at the plate, ending the inning.
The Mustangs extended to a 6-0 lead with three runs in the bottom half.
A triple by Schwers drove in sophomore Mason Leavitt, followed by an RBI double by Guerrero for a 5-0 lead.
Guerrero gave Eagle a 6-0 advantage on an RBI single from senior Austin Murphy with two outs.
The Indians were retired in order in the sixth and seventh innings, losing the season opener in shutout fashion, 6-0.
Schwers and Guerrero drove in two runs apiece for the Mustangs, each hitting 2-for-3, both of Guerrero’s hits going for doubles, Schwers hitting a double and a triple – scoring a game-high two runs.
The Indians were limited to just two hits, a single by Martinez and another from Byington.
ELKO – 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
EAGLE – 210 030 X – 6 8 2
Elko wasted little time to score its first run of the year in the Friday nightcap against the Vikings.
Junior Cooper Jones led off and reached on a dropped third strike, stealing second and third.
He came home on an RBI single by Byington.
Middleton was sat down one-two-three in the bottom half, and Elko took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
A single by junior Carter Alvarado drove in junior Kohl McIntosh, Alvarado coming home on an RBI single by junior Austyn Marin.
Elko’s lead grew to 5-0 in the top of third, Byington dashing across the dish on a passed ball and senior Kamren Backherms scoring on an RBI single by Martinez.
The Indians retired the Vikings in order in the bottom of the frame, but Middleton found the scoreboard for the first time in the bottom of the fourth – senior Josh Sheffield crossing on an RBI groundout by junior Carson Smith.
The Vikings sliced the lead to two at 5-3 in the bottom half of the fifth, Smith scoring on a single by senior Jared Baltzer, who crossed on an RBI groundout by Sheffield.
Elko made a big push in the top of the seventh.
Martinez got things started with a one-out single, and senior Antawn Valtierra was hit by a pitch.
Kelly scored on a wild pitch as a courtesy runner, and Marin ripped a two-RBI single that drove in junior Lukas Nelms and Wickersham for an 8-3 lead.
Alvarado took home on a double-steal for a 9-3 advantage, and Marin crossed on a groundout RBI by Byington – the Indians on top 10-3.
Things got real shaky in the bottom of the seventh.
Elko gave up three straight walks and a run on a wild pitch.
Senior Darin Post drove in senior Joseph Orrison with a single, Daltzer scored on a passed ball and Smith pulled the Vikings to within three when his single crossed Post – making the score 10-7.
Middleton sliced the lead to two when senior Eddie Scott scored on an error by the pitcher, but Martinez came up with a big strikeout for the Indians and the second out of the frame.
A groundout ended the scare for Elko, the Indians gaining their first win of the season after some tumultuous moments in the final inning.
The Indians hung on for a 10-8 victory.
Marin led Elko with three RBIs and a 3-for-4 night at the dish, Byington driving in two runs and hit 2-for-4.
Alvarado scored a team-high two runs for the Indians.
Smith finished 2-for-3 and led the Vikings with two RBIs, and Hayden Smith and Baltzer each scored two runs for Middleton.
ELKO – 122 000 5 – 10 12 4
MIDDLETON – 000 120 5 – 8 5 2
The Indians will play Vallivue at 10 a.m. Saturday in Caldwell, Idaho.