An 0-3 start in NWAC East Region play did not sit well with the Columbia Basin College baseball team.
The Hawks dropped a pair of games to Treasure Valley in Ontario, Ore., then split with Walla Walla to find themselves 1-3 after the first week of region play. But the doldrums didn’t last long.
Since April 1, the Hawks have won 12 of their past 13 games to roost atop the East Region at 12-4 heading into Thursday’s home doubleheader with TVCC.
That one loss came Saturday — a 7-6, 13-inning affair against Walla Walla.
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“We started out 0-3, but we found ways to win,” said CBC infielder Michael Wyatt, who is hitting .362 with 30 RBIs. “After that last loss, we are going to restart and pick up where we left off and play the way we had been. It was a bit humbling, for sure.”
First-year CBC coach Brent Wyatt likes the way his team has handled its streak coming to an end and making the right adjustments to move forward.
“They make it pretty easy,” coach Wyatt said. “We have our days like anyone else. Some days I want to wring their necks, but I enjoy coming out here every day. Our goal is to win every game. When the streak ended, we knew there were things we could have done differently. Our goal as a coaching staff is to turn this into a positive.”
That starts Thursday against the Chukars, who are 9-7 in East Region play.
“We didn’t play well against them,” Brent Wyatt said of the first go-round. “That is a tough road trip. It was our first trip of the season and we were out of sync. We are a different ball club than we were 16 or so games ago. The only games we don’t have a chance to win is when we aren’t hitting well, playing defense and pitching well. When all three are going, I don’t think there is a team that can beat us. We aren’t arrogant or cocky, just confident in what we can do.”
And the numbers don’t lie.
The Hawks have five players hitting better than .350. They have scored 170 runs and their pitching staff has been solid, posting a collective 2.87 ERA with 110 strikeouts.
Richland High product Hunter French leads the Hawks with a 7-1 record and a 2.18 ERA with 38 strikeouts over 57 2/3 innings. He has walked just eight batters.
“It has been nice to pitch well enough to stay ahead of the count,” French said.
Added Michael Wyatt: “We can always count on him. He gives us a chance to win.”
The Hawks (27-8 overall) are keeping French in the bullpen until Saturday’s doubleheader at Wenatchee Valley. Thursday, CBC will start Andrew Willmon in the first game, while Wapato native Anthony Alvarado will take the mound in the second game.
CBC has 12 remaining East Region games, and Walla Walla (10-6) and Yakima Valley (11-7) also are in the thick of things as they make a push for the East region title. The last time the Hawks hung that banner was 2012.
“I won’t breathe until we clinch,” Brent Wyatt said. “We can’t take anything for granted. We have to win every pitch.”