GAME OF THE WEEK — Tigers rain on Dayton, 11-1

Taft’s Bleiz Kimbrough, hurling as a southpaw and batting as a righty, posed a double threat for Dayton in the Tigers’ 11-1 win Friday. With two on and two out in the fourth, Kimbrough nailed a runner at second base to retire Pirate hopes for good.

LINCOLN CITY — Taft dealt Dayton an 11-1 non-league loss Friday, ending a three-game losing streak that sent the Tigers tumbling from No. 3 to No. 9 in state rankings.

The victory was emphatic enough, however, to put the District 2 on notice that Lincoln City, 4-6 in pre-season, is swinging for the sand dunes as 3A league play begins this week at home against Rainier (Tuesday) and Warrenton (Friday).

In his first start of the season, Bleize Kimbrough led the Tigers from the mound, allowing just four hits in the lopsided victory that was called on the 10-run rule after five-innings. The Tigers, veterans of brisk spring weather, were unperturbed by a sudden drop in the mercury and sideways rain.

But Dayton, fresh off a cross-country exhibition in Arizona, seemed to wilt under the conditions. Kimbrough, who bats right-handed but serves-up fastballs as a lefty, opened the game by quickly fanning the first Pirate batter and retiring the next two on the easy fly and pop foul.

The fast work poised the Tigers for a four-run first inning. Taft’s speed advantage was immediately apparent as Trenton Fisher blasted a hard ground ball, then beat the throw to first base before stealing second and third on his way to the first score of the game off Eli DeMello’s ground-ball sacrifice.

The game quickly got out of control as Tiger runners played a pressure offense that yielded 11 11 hits and six stolen bases, including Tyee Fisher’s theft of home plate on a wild pitch.

Weather proved itself a factor as the recently sun-tanned Pirates stiffened in the intermittent sleet, allowing six errors including a ground ball that meandered through a left fielder’s legs and wild throws on infield plays. Taft was flawless, with zero slip-ups.

Kimbrough threw 52 strikes and 32 balls while the Pirates, who never made it farther than first base on four hits, cycled through the bullpen looking for answers.

Taft put the icing on the win with a six-point run in the fourth stanza. With bases loaded, more wild pitches and off-target throws to home by Dayton allowed Cody Knott and Tyee Fisher to score in back-to-back plays. Meanwhile, a vulnerable left field allowed Kaden Hindmen and Darius Smith to drive deep for more runs. DeMello led the Tigers with 2 RBIs, while Smith and Fco Ramos led the bats with two hits apiece.

1  2 3  4 5 R   H E

DAYTON 0  0 0  1 0 1   4 6

TAFT 4  0 0  6 1 11 11  0


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