By JOHN McCALLUM
On days when things don’t go especially well, having character can help a team find a way to win.
In the case of the Cheney High baseball squad, make that two wins. The Blackhawks struggled hitting Colville pitching, didn’t execute its patented short game well, but still came out on top 1-0 in an extra-inning win in the first game of a doubleheader with the visiting Indians Saturday.
In the nightcap the Blackhawks again struggled until late, finding a way to finally get the offense working and rally from a 1-0 deficit for a 7-1 win.
“Hats off to Colville, they competed very well,” Cheney manager Randy Elam said. “I think they turned three or four double plays and their pitchers really did a nice job. But a great job by our guys to stay tough and find a way to break through.”
Sawyer Sims did yeoman’s work on the mound for Cheney in game one, pitching 6 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before a sinking line drive double in the seventh ended the bid. Alex Berman and Austin Harding came on in relief, working out of some tough situations to hold Colville scoreless.
Cheney finally broke through and ended the game with a run in the bottom of the ninth on Harding’s hit. The senior also got the win on the mound, with Cheney Tristan Flippo and Josh Arthur contributing singles.
In game two the Blackhawks also struggled to get runners across the plate until the fifth inning. With runners at the corners, Tanner Gamby attempted to steal second, enabling Connor Netz to break from third and score the first of three runs in the frame.
“It kind of broke things loose,” Elam said of the play. “We started hitting and put seven on the board.”
Netz got the win on the mound, with Arthur leading the offense with three hits, including a double. Adding singles were Berman, Harding, Robbie Cook and Flippo.
The sweep helps Cheney even its overall mark at 5-5, moving into third place in the Great Northern League standings at 5-3 behind Clarkston (7-2) and West Valley (7-0). The Blackhawks have a couple opportunities to pick up ground this week, traveling to fifth-place Pullman (2-6, 2-7) for a game Tuesday and then to West Valley Saturday for a doubleheader showdown with the Eagles.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.