Sunday, October 17, 2021

La Pine hands No. 1-ranked Taft first baseball defeat

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Photos by Eric DeMello

Host La Pine High scored four times in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday to break a 4-4 tie and hand the No. 1-ranked Taft High baseball team its first loss of the season, 8-5.

eli demello
Eli DeMello

“We came out flat and just couldn’t get it going,” first-year Taft Coach Matt Hilgers said. “We struggled defensively to make the plays that we usually make.”

The 6-1 Tigers, who collected nine hits, were led by three from sophomore Eli DeMello, who tripled twice. Seniors Josh Salsbery and Jack Stempel had two hits each for Taft against the third-rated Hawks.

Leadoff hitter Salsbery scored three times and DeMello twice for the Tigers.

“We had some good run production from the top half of our lineup today.” Hilgers said.

Josh salsbery
Josh Salsbery tags a runner at second

Taft senior starter Caleb King had a team-leading three RBIs without a hit. Junior Kam Kessler and sophomore Caleb Jones also had hits for the Tigers.

Junior reliever Bleiz Kimbrough suffered the loss for Taft, while Adam Plant earned the victory for La Pine in relief of starter Angelo Roes.

“Caleb did well on the mound battling one of his tougher outings mixed with some defensive errors,” Hilgers said. “Bleiz came in relief and also battled.”

The Class 3A Hawks (4-0) of the Mountain View Conference had their first five games canceled, but had outscored opponents 42-3 in winning their first three games before facing Taft.

“We did a good job of answering them every time they scored by scoring ourselves,” Hilgers said. “This was a good learning experience for us. We have to be ready to compete every day.”

The Tigers return to action Thursday through Saturday at the Madras spring break tournament. Taft opens against Crook County at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Taft (1-0 West Valley League) returns to league play Tuesday April 3, at Horizon Christian-Tualatin.

La Pine 8, Taft 5


Josh Salsbery 3 3 2 0

Eli DeMello 4 2 3 2

Caleb King 3 0 0 3

Jack Stempel 3 0 2 0

Cody Knott 4 0 0 0

Kam Kessler 4 0 1 0

Tyee Fisher 3 0 0 0

Caleb Jones 2 0 1 0

Bleiz Kimbrough 1 0 0 0

Trenton Fisher 3 0 0 0

TOTALS 30 5 9 5


Adam Plant 4 1 1 0

Riley Pinckney 3 1 2 1

Jake Farnsworth 4 1 0 2

Wyatt DeForest 2 1 1 1

Angelo Roes 2 1 2 1

Giroux Gerhart 3 1 2 0

Eddie Price 3 1 1 0

Ben Plant 2 1 1 0

TOTALS 27 8 10 5

TAFT 002 020 1 — 5

LA PINE 100 304 x — 8

LOB–TAFT 7, LA PINE 7. ERR–Josh Salsbery, Kam Kessler, Eli DeMello, Angelo Roes. 2B–Wyatt DeForest. 3B–Eli DeMello (2). HBP–Jack Stempel, Wyatt DeForest. SACF–Caleb King, Angelo Roes, Riley Pinckney. SB—Josh Salsbery.


Caleb King 4 6 4 2 3 4 0

Bleiz Kimbrough (L) 2 4 4 4 0 0 0


Angelo Roes 4 4 2 2 1 3 0

Adam Plant (W) 2.67 5 3 2 0 5 0

Wyatt DeForest (S) 0.33 0 0 0 0 1 0

PB–Eli DeMello. WP–Caleb King (2). BB–Josh Salsbery, Angelo Roes, Ben Plant, Wyatt DeForest.

Class 3A West Valley League standings

Class 3A OSAA rankings

Taft team roster and schedule

La Pine’s roster and schedule

Jim Fossum
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.

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