Cheney’s baseball team bunted, ran and left East Valley for dead.
The Blackhawks rebounded from Tuesday’s loss to the Knights, winning 11-3 and 9-3 in Saturday’s doubleheader at EV to earn a spot in next Saturday’s Region IV playoff.
They play the Mid-Valley No. 2 team at 10 a.m. in Yakima.
All told, the Blackhawks stole eight bases and bunted successfully 10 times against EV. Included was a double squeeze for two runs by cleanup hitter C.J. Albin with his team already ahead 9-0.
Cheney worked another double squeeze in the second game, pushing across its final run of the day.
“Everybody who knows me knows I play a short game,” said Cheney coach Terry Regnier. “You have to execute. The difference Tuesday was we left kids stranded at second base.”
The short-game threat helped Cheney batters hit safely in 13 of 14 innings and finish with 27 total.
A three-run fourth and five-run fifth in the opener and five-run second in the second game decided the outcomes.
Leadoff hitter Tucker Urdahl reached base safely and scored in each of his first five at bats.
Urdahl, a sophomore pitcher who lost to EV on Tuesday, scattered six hits, struck out seven and shut out EV over the game’s final four innings to win the decisive game of this best-of-three series.
Senior pitcher Doug Clark won the opener, pitching six innings of two-hit ball before tiring in the seventh, allowing only six baserunners and stranding five of those in scoring position. He also went 3-for-4.
“We have two others on the bench who are good throwers and it allows them to do more and bulldog a bit,” said Regnier.
Sophomore third baseman Brian Miller was 3-for-3, giving him six straight hits in the series’ first two games.
Albin didn’t have a hit in the opener but drove in three runs, including the bunt that all but sealed the game in the fifth inning.
He was 4-for-5 in the second game, hitting an RBI single during Cheney’s five-run second inning that included a two-run single by Colin Fiddes.
Albin added a ground-rule double in the fourth that was followed by Miller’s identical two-run, two-base hit that bounced over the left-center field fence.
“Honestly,” said Albin. “I was pretty worried going in because we’re a young bunch. We matured a lot today.”
The normally potent-hitting Knights never could pull the trigger with men on base.
“This group of seniors never had anything to lose yet,” said coach Kurt Krauth. “Today they did. I felt confident we would win but you could just sense something today that scares you.”
Cheney 11-9, EV 3-3
Cheney 111 350 0 -11 13 2
EV 000 000 3 -3 4 3
Clark, DeMulling (7) and Olson. LaMarche, Halttunen (4), Redinger (6) and Fox. W-Clark, L-LaMarche.
HITS: Cheney-Urdahl 2, Nicle, Fiddes, Milbourn, Miller 3, Clark 3, Conrath 2. East Valley- Osso, Pipkin, P. Stookey, C. Stookey. 2B-Urdahl.
Cheney 150 201 0 -9 14 2
EV 102 000 0 -3 6 3
Urdahl and Olson. Pipkin, Halttunen (5) and Fox. W-Urdahl, L-Pipkin.
HITS: Cheney-Urdahl 2, Fiddes 2, Albin 4, Miller, Collins 2, Conrath 2, Logan. East Valley-LeGrant 2, Osso 2, Rogers, Huston. 2B-Urdahl, Albin, Miller.