Milton-Freewater Blazers finish regular season with 14-7 win

The M-F team heads to the state tournament in Tualatin, Ore., beginning Thursday.

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The DALLES, ORE. - The Milton-Freewater Blazers finished their summer league regular season with a 20-13 win over The Dalles Hustlers here on Monday.

Last Friday, the Blazers were beaten by the Hustlers 14-7.

"After our last game with them, we knew they were a good hitting team," M-F coach Mike Garcia said. "So we knew we had to score some runs."

The team stormed off to six runs in the first two innings, but Hustler Zoey Schwatzbach responded with a grand slam in the bottom of the second, cutting the Blazer lead to two.

The Blazers put together a five-run third inning that started with Willie McCoy's single over third base and a base-on-balls for Rick Sandoval.

After a teammate's strikeout, Lupito Salazar hit a single to score McCoy. Patrick Sheets and Jacob Partney were then both walked, which sent a run in and leaving Randy Romero with a bases-loaded RBI opportunity. He delivered with a two-run double. The final run of the inning came off a passed ball, which allowed Partney to cross home plate.

Two more runs were scored by the Hustlers in the third, but in the top of the fourth with two outs and with Sandoval and Enrique Hernandez on first and second, Partney came to the plate.

"It was just a blast," Garcia said of Partney's home run. "He must have cleared left-center by at least 20 feet."

The team collected 10 of its 15 total hits in the first three innings and also benefited from the 10 walks given by Hustlers pitchers. Sheets and Partney led the way with four RBIs each.

"Hitting-wise, we were right on," Garcia said.

He noticed a change in the team with the return of starting pitchers Sheets, Salazar and Romero, who were unavailable for the last game against The Dalles. The three returned after attending the Yankees-Mariners series in Seattle.

"When we have all those guys it really lifts our confidence levels," Garcia said. "Those guys are veteran players, they are contstantly giving pointers to our younger guys."

The Blazers pitching staff recorded 11 strikeouts on the day.

"It was the last game of the season and it's good that we are at the top of our game going into state," Garcia said.

With the victory, the 16-25 Blazers open state play in Tualatin Hills, Ore. to play East Metro of Portland Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

M-F 335 331 020 - 20 15 1

The Dalles 042 400 030 - 13 13 4

Pitchers - M-F: Lupito Salazar, Randy Romero (6), James (8), and McCoy ; The Dalles: Avery Ringer, Charilie Urrness (6), Conner Mathisen (9) and Brett Lowes.

HR - M-F: Partney; The Dalles: 2, Zoey Schwartzbach, Tanner Phettiplace.

Hits - M-F: Salazar 2, Sheets 3, Partney 2, Romero 2, James 2, McCoy, Sandoval 2, Ortiz, Jordan Lienbach; The Dalles: Kizer, Spencer Dodd 3, C, Mathisen 3, Phettiplace 2, Corey Seibel, Alex Baldwin, Lowes, and Zoey S.

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