To borrow a few lyrics from the 1970s rock band, Stealers Wheel, the Cheney High baseball team is “stuck in the middle,” of the Great Northern League.
The Blackhawks (5-5 GNL, 7-7 overall) are in third place in the league standings after they split a doubleheader with Pullman April 12, losing the first game 7-1 and winning game two, 5-1. They also went 1-1 in a doubleheader against East Valley, April 16 after they won the first game, 6-3, and lost the second, 10-0.
In game one, Cheney scored its only run in the fourth inning while Pullman put up runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings. Head coach Mike Cagle noted how Pullman pitcher Mike Peterson gave his batters trouble from the mound.
The Blackhawks bounced back from game one and scored three runs in the first inning of game two, then extended the lead to 5-0 after they scored two runs in the sixth. The Greyhounds scored their only run in the bottom of the sixth.
VanWormer had four hits on the day, including a double and two RBIs in the first game. Harrison King had two hits on the day. Jack Peabody had an RBI in the second game.
“The defense played well and the offense was more productive than they were in the past,” Cagle said.
Ty Graham (1-3) took the loss on the mound in the first game after pitching for five innings and striking out seven batters. Chance Gleave (2-1) got the win in game two after he struck out seven batters, and Dylan Arthur, who took over in the sixth, threw a combined four-hitter.
The Blackhawks carried some of that momentum into game one against East Valley. Leading 2-1, Cheney scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to seal the lead.
The Blackhawks did not fare as well in game two, as East Valley opened with a three-run lead in the first inning and scored three more runs in both the second and third innings. The game ended when the Knights scored one run in the sixth to force the 10-run mercy rule.
Arthur had two hits for the day. Gleave, also had two hits including a double in game one. Cameron Wiseman had a double in game one.
“East Valley played well,” Cagle said. “We fought through those first few innings and we kept them from ending the game in the fifth. It’s a matter of finding that rhythm. If we can get on a roll, we can do pretty well.”
Arthur (1-0) got his first win on the mound in game one after tossing a three-hitter. Matthew Riggs (0-2) took the loss in the second game.
“Dylan did a nice job (in game one), he controlled that game from beginning to end,” Cagle said.
Cheney hosted first-place Clarkston (7-1, 8-1) Tuesday, April 19. They travel to West Valley for a doubleheader against the fourth-place Eagles (3-6, 5-6), April 22. The Blackhawks were 1-2 against the Bantams prior to Tuesday’s game. Cheney lost to West Valley, 6-2, March 29.
“Our goal is to win two out of the three,” Cagle said. “Clarkston is at the top (of the league) and it would be nice to get the season split with them. Then we’re going to load up and try to win that first game at West Valley and hopefully win the second.”