MILTON-FREEWATER - The Mac-Hi Pioneers struggled in all aspects of the game Wednesday against DeSales at McRae-Ireland Field.
They struggled on the mound (five hit batters, 20 earned runs), in the field (four errors) and at the plate en route to a 22-3, 10-run mercy-rule loss to the Irish in a cross-border baseball showdown.
Originally scheduled for March 20, Wednesday's baseball game was almost postponed again when a rain and hail storm rendered the DeSales field unusable. But instead of re-scheduling the game, the Irish met Mac-Hi at McRae-Ireland field in Milton-Freewater.
"DeSales is always a good team," Mac-Hi coach Mike Garcia said. "Our expectation was to compete; obviously that didn't happen tonight."
The loss is the second in a row for the Pioneers and the worst in a season that had shown some progress, with Mac-Hi winning four games in a row before Saturday's loss to Crook County.
Garcia said he felt his team was capable of being more competitive in the Greater Oregon League.
"I still think we're fully capable of doing that (competing in the GOL), but we've got to come to play every time we step on the field," Garcia said. "I just don't think that right now we're doing that. We played good games here and there. We won four games in a row, and now we have two losses in a row.
"We've got to bounce back ... and hopefully we can get our heads together and get back in that winning column."
Mac-Hi led 1-0 going into the second inning.
Starting pitcher Saul Ortiz, who escaped the first without giving up a hit, began to struggle in the second after Irish shortstop Logan Hoeft reached base on an error. DeSales' Cam Richman singled and Adam Eskil took a ball to the shoulder blades to load the bases for Irish right fielder Darryl Galloway. Galloway lofted a double to the left-field wall to clear the bases and start an 11-run bombardment that ultimately saw Ortiz pulled and his replacement, Jordan Leinbach, throw another 45 pitches to get two outs and escape the inning.
Galloway racked up six RBIs and reached base four times in the single game, while going 3-for-4 from the plate.
Tim Caudill was the only Irish batter not to reach base during the second inning - but he recorded two hits and two RBIs in the third inning.
Garcia said the inning affected Mac-Hi's confidence.
"That's (confidence) one of the areas we need to work on," Garcia said. "We know it, our players know it, coaches know that; and now we've just got to put it together and execute.
"When things aren't going your way, pick yourself up and get after it again," he said. "Don't allow yourself to hang your head and allow a team to bury you like DeSales did tonight. When they started hitting, it snowballed to where we were feeling a little down and weren't able to make those plays that we should have."
From there the Irish (4-0) continued to light up Mac-Hi's pitching. They scored seven more runs in the third, three more in the fourth and a lone run in the fifth.
Every Irish batter - including Riley Roach, who came in for designated hitter Kyler Pommerening - recorded at least one hit.
"I was pleased with the offensive side of things," DeSales coach Kim Cox said. "We made good contact throughout the lineup. I thought our guys got some good sets and handled some good pitches, which we wanted to see."
Left fielder Eskil got on base every time he took the plate, but reached on a fielder's choice in the fourth. He ended with three hits and two RBIs on a 4-of-5 day at the plate.
On the other side of the plate, the Pioneers struggled to reach base.
An error let Jake Morris cross home in the first, but Mac-Hi wasn't able to score again until the game was all-but-decided in the fourth inning.
For the most part, DeSales concentrated on keeping its pitch count low in anticipation of an upcoming league doubleheader against Liberty Christian Friday.
Cam Richman struck out two batters and gave up two hits in a two-inning start. Spencer Cordeiro came in in the third and pitched through the fifth, giving up four hits and two runs. Daniel Galloway came on in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game with a 22-3 lead.
He struck out one batter and hit another before getting Kevin Cuellar to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
The Pioneers drop to 4-3 with the loss and start GOL play April 6, when they host La Grande.
DeSales 22, Mac-Hi 3
DeSales 0(11)7 31 - 22 20 1
Mac-Hi 100 20 - 3 6 4
Richman, Cordeiro (3), Galloway (5) and Duehn; Ortiz, Leinbach (2), Sheets (3), Kessler (5) and Sheets, Leinbach (3).
HR - none.
Hits - DeSales: T. Haen, Duehn 3, Caudill 2, S. Cordeiro 2, Hoeft, Richman 3, Eskil 3, Galloway 3, Pommerening, Roach; Mac-Hi: Shuler, Morris 2, Leinbach 2, Aguilar.