MILTON-FREEWATER - The Milton-Freewater Blazers split a pair of Senior Babe Ruth home baseball contests and snapped a seven-game losing streak in the process against Hanford here Saturday.
Milton-Freewater fell 11-5 in game one, then bested their guests 6-4 in the nightcap.
Both games saw the victor stage a comeback to earn the win.
The Blazers led 5-3 when relief pitcher Troy Kessler got into trouble in the sixth. Hanford loaded the bases on Kessler with two down, but he appeared to get out of the inning unscathed when Hanford's batter rolled an easy groundball to the M-F infield.
"The Hanford batter put it on the ground to where our fielder should have had it, but it rolled right between his legs, and the inning fell apart from there," M-F coach Mike Garcia said. "After that we had two more errors in the inning. Very costly errors."
Hanford plated seven runners in the inning and grabbed a five-run lead, then waltzed to the 11-5 victory in seven.
"We should have been out of that inning. Once again we had a very good pitching performance going. We can't close out games when we're ahead. We're just not having the focus that we need to be having," Garcia said.
The Blazers rallied from two-run deficits twice in the nightcap.
Down 2-0, the Blazers tallied two runs in the third inning to tie the game. They surrendered two back in the top of the fifth, but scored a second pair in the bottom of the same inning to deadlock the game again.
M-F's third two-spot in the sixth provided the last ounce of run support Randy Romero needed for the win. The Blazers starter closed out the seven-inning complete game one half inning later.
"The second game was a pitcher's duel," said Garcia. "We fell behind, but ended up figuring out their pitcher.
"Prior to that last game, we were on a seven-game skid," he said. "Randy is definitely our best guy to get that turned around.
"This game when we got the runners on base, we got the timely hits and runs Randy needed to win the game," he said.
Patrick Sheets provided the Blazers' biggest outburst of offense with three hits in game two.
Hanford pitcher Garrett Jones had four hits in the loss. He tallied six total base knocks on the twinbill.
The 12-16 Blazers next take their show on the road with a Monday pair at Ontario.
"We certainly want to play some of our best ball against them. We expect to see them at state," Garcia said.
The Oregon Senior Babe Ruth state tournament starts July 15 in Beaverton.
Hanford 102 007 1 - 11 12 1
M-F 120 110 0 - 5 4 3
Kowalski and Steckler; Partney, Kessler (5), Knight (7) and McCoy.
HR - none.
Hits - Hanford: Steckler, Jones 2, Browne 2, Steele 2, Sterkowski, Baldowski, R. Boord 2, A. Boord; M-F: Partney 2, Kessler, Cuellar.
Hanford 200 020 0 - 4 7 1
M-F 002 022 x - 6 8 1
Jones and Steckler; Romero and McCoy, Kessler (5).
HR - none.
Hits - Hanford: A. Boord, Jones 4, Brown, Sterkowski; M-F: Sheets 3, Partney, Salazar, Quaempts, Sandoval, Stringham