Fielder’s Choice

Cody Knott

LINCOLN CITY — Dramatic spins, elegant leaps and artful lunges may be the elements of ballet, but those same fluid movements are at the heart of a winning baseball team.

On Tuesday, the Taft Tigers demonstrated a lissome agility on the field that delivered their first league victory, 7-3, over 3A rival Rainier (4-4), ranked No. 7 in the state in a recent coach’s poll. The win lifted the Tigers (5-6) to No. 5 in the OSAA polling.

The Tigers, with only one error, made their fielding look effortless. They never seemed to get a bad hop and always seemed to be in front of the ball — the result of Coach Matt Hilger’s emphasis on the “basics.”

“We have a lot of guys coming back from last year, but many of them are playing in new positions they haven’t been in since they started playing ball,” he commented. “It’s a big difference and a learning curve, but you’ve got to get them through it.”

Eli DeMello led Taft from the mound across nearly six innings, throwing 51 strikes and 31 balls.

  • Photos by Lon French

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  R  H  E

RAINIER 0  0  0  0  3  0  0  3  9  4

TAFT 2  1  4  0  0  0  -   7  7  1

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