What started out as a strong regular season for the Cheney High baseball team continues to go through the grinder of the regular season after losing to East Valley, 5-0, April 28, and dropping both games of their doubleheader against Pullman, 10-0, 7-0.
Besides fielding errors, Cheney’s biggest challenge lately is putting the ball in play. In their last five games, the Blackhawks had only 19 hits.
“We’re just in a funk right now,” head coach Mike Cagle said. “We just need to execute and hit the ball.”
During the game against East Valley, Knights’ pitcher Alex Bowdish once again proved a challenge for the Blackhawks, allowing only two hits. Riley Jones was 1 for 3 with a double and Logan Pratt was 1 for 2 with a single.
The Knights scored a run in the first inning to take an early lead. They scored two more runs in the fourth and one in both the fifth and seventh.
Pratt (0-1) and Cameron Marchand shared pitching duties on the mound, walking three batters and throwing a combined five-hitter.
Pullman’s defense held the Blackhawks to just three hits in the first game and five in the second. Dominic Bonilla went 3 for 5 for the day while Chance Gleave was 2 for 5 with a double.
The Greyhounds’ offense opened game one with two runs in the first inning. They scored five runs in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth, which forced the mercy rule to end the game.
In game two, Pullman took the lead with a three-run fourth followed by a four-run sixth.
Jones (5-3) and King shared pitching duties for game one of the Pullman doubleheader. Connor Pratt (5-3) and Marchand shared the mound in the nightcap.
Cagle studied some video of Cheney’s recent games and noticed a pattern with most of his batters.
“I’m seeing a lot of guys just popping up the ball,” Cagle said. “They’re trying to hit the ball off of the wall when they should be hitting it on the ground.”
With their losing streak now at five games, The Blackhawks (7-8 GNL, 10-8 overall) are in a three-way tie for second place with Clarkston and Pullman.
Cheney finished their regular season May 5 with a game against GNL regular season champions West Valley (11-4, 11-4). They’ll compete in the first round of GNL playoffs, May 12.
When it comes to the playoffs, Cagle hopes his team can carry some momentum from practices and the beginning of the season, specifically the April 7 Clarkston game where the Blackhawks staged a 19-run comeback after being down 14-0 in the fifth inning.
“I’m not giving up on these guys, I think we can pull off some wins in the playoffs,” Cagle said.