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Bend ekes out win over RiverDogs

Bend caught a few breaks and Southern Oregon had the brakes slam on it to halt any progress Friday night in amateur baseball at Miles Field.

The visiting Elks scored all of their runs with two outs while the RiverDogs put together two straight hits on only one occasion as Bend eked out a 3-1 victory in its season-opener.

The two teams square off again at 4 p.m. today in a doubleheader at Miles.

We want to be able to finish it off and we didn't tonight, said first-year RiverDogs manager Mike Mayben. Early on, we've just struggled getting the timely hits to produce runs. Guys are hitting line drives and hitting the ball hard, it's just a matter of getting them when we need them now. It'll come around and we'll get it done. All these guys have hit in the clutch before.

— Only Phil Ouellette could pull off the feat Friday night for the RiverDogs (4-2), with the former North Medford High standout following Ryan Garrett's leadoff single in the seventh inning with an RBI single of his own off Bend starter Cory Dixon.

Garrett, who finished with two of Southern Oregon's seven hits, had advanced to second on his single on a throwing error by shortstop Michael Wilhite.

(Dixon had) been throwing me fastballs all day so I was just thinking first-pitch fastball, Ouellette said of the situation, and, sure enough, he threw it and left it up a little bit and I hit it.

Ouellette also moved to second on his single when catcher Sam Kirby had the ball get away from him on an off-target throw home in an attempt to nab Garrett.

After Derrick Draper walked to put runners at first and second, a potential RiverDogs rally was snuffed out when Kenny Halpin grounded into a fielder's choice to the shortstop that included an interference call on Draper for a double play.

That double play was tough, said Ouellette, who moved to third on the progression. That put us in a hole with two outs rather than one out with a guy at first and third.

Dixon then got Steve DeClerck to strike out swinging for one of the left-hander's four strikeouts on the night. Dixon and reliever Travis Lange were the beneficiaries of three double plays turned by the Elks.

Bend has a quality staff and a quality ballclub, said Mayben. I like these kind of games; the competition's right there. That could have gone either way tonight. A couple little things and we swing it the other way 3-1.

The Elks scored their first run in the first inning after Aaron O'Dell drew a two-out walk off starter Matt Skundrick and came around to score when Allen Balmer's high fly ball to the right-center field gap was lost in the sun and dropped by the center fielder Halpin.

Bend built its lead to 2-0 in the third thanks to a two-out single by Balmer, a walk to Geoff Wagner and an RBI single by Derrick Jones.

The first two Bend batters reached safely in the fourth when Kirby was hit by a pitch and Danny Richards drew a walk. After a fielder's choice nabbed Kirby at third and a pop-up to third baseman Brian Stock, the Elks once again came through in the clutch with an RBI single by O'Dell.

Skundrick allowed five hits with six strikeouts in six innings of work, with John Jefferson coming on in relief to notch five strikeouts in two innings.

Their pitching was good but our pitching was pretty good tonight, too, said Ouellette, who along with Skundrick drove down from Lane Community College in Eugene prior to Friday's game.

We've got a good group of guys. Once we get together and jell as a team, we'll get the bats hot and start pounding some teams.

Bend Elks..............................101 100 000 ' — 7 4

Southern Oregon.................000 000 100 ' — 7 3

Dixon, Lange (8) and Kirby; Skundrick, Jefferson (7) and Shine. W ' Dixon (1-0). L ' Skundrick (0-2). S ' Lange (1). 2B ' B: Norris; SO: Foster.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail