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Aug. 15, 2022

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Hudson’s Bay opens with thrilling victory on Evergreen’s new turf

Eagles battle to get 5-3 win in nine innings

By , Columbian staff writer
10 Photos
Hudson's Bay outfielder Dylan Damos makes a running catch during the Eagles's 5-3 win against Evergreen at the new Evergreen Sports Complex.
Hudson's Bay outfielder Dylan Damos makes a running catch during the Eagles's 5-3 win against Evergreen at the new Evergreen Sports Complex. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

New day, new season, new Hudson’s Bay.

The words came from head coach Greg Peavey during a pregame talk with his Eagles baseball team before they faced Evergreen on the Plainsmen’s brand new synthetic turf fields to open the spring season.

A few hours and nine innings later, the coach’s message carried some extra meaning when Bay scored two runs in the ninth and held Evergreen without a run during a bases-loaded rally to post a 5-3 win.

Coming off of last season’s 4-9 campaign, the Eagles were eager to start anew and see how they responded in the high-pressure moments.

“I think it’s good for a lot of our young guys, getting that taste in their mouth a little bit, playing in a competitive game, dealing with adversity, living in the present,” Peavey said. “I’m really hoping they chase this feeling, what it feels like to compete and come out in the way it did.”

Evergreen’s Cole Robinson scored on Conner Cuypers’ ground-out RBI to tie the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning, leading to three scoreless frames until the ninth.

Hudson’s Bay’s Elias Estrada scored with the bases loaded on a ball that got behind home plate, before the Eagles added one more run on a Chanz Flores grounder.

Evergreen started the bottom of the ninth by loading the bases on a pair of walks and a hit by pitch.

Coaches then called Estrada on to the mound. After a brief warm up, Estrada struck out Evergreen’s next batter on three straight strikes, before forcing a fly out and ground out to end the game.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” Estrada said. “You think about it, last season, we wouldn’t have even been in that situation to begin with … Bay way, we love adversity. The blood pressure was high, you just got to handle the situation, breathe and you got to think.”

While Evergreen was unable to secure a win in the grand opening of its revamped facilities, Evergreen coach Chad Burchett said the game was a good way to start the season between two competitive teams and a big crowd on both sides.

“I would’ve much rather come out and had a battle like this in the first game than go out and beat somebody 20-0,” Burchett said. “To get the competitive juices going, and the kids are getting in the dugout and they’re getting scrappy … It was a really good first game.”

Evergreen began using the turf fields on its first day of tryouts, Feb. 28. The complex has two softball fields, a varsity baseball field and multi-purpose baseball and soccer field.

While there are still a couple phases left to complete, such as the dugouts, Evergreen spring sports teams have already benefitted tremendously from the updates, which were part of a 2018 bond measure in Evergreen Public Schools.

“It’s night and day,” Burchett said. “Before, it was mud and you’re either fighting with track, tennis and every other program inside in one little gym, but now we can still come out and get good work in even when the weather is bad. It rained all day two or three days ago, and we still came out and got a good practice in. It’s just incredible.”

Heritage teams have also utilized the fields while construction continues on two new baseball and softball fields on the Timberwolves’ campus.

According to Heritage athletic director Jason Castro, the project was originally slated to be done on Jan. 1. Then the date was pushed back to Feb. 22. Now, with various phases expected to be finished at different times during the spring, Castro said they’re unsure if Heritage tennis, baseball or softball teams will have any home contests this season.

“While frustrating, we understand the hold up all is connected to various COVID supply chain issues and everyone is doing the best they can,” Castro wrote in an email Thursday. “However, this spring season has been as difficult as any in my career to schedule and plan for.”

With Evergreen already open for use and Heritage not far behind, the number of all-weather fields in Clark County continues to grow.

“It’s gorgeous out here,” Peavey said. “That’s why I wish we got to come out here more often.”

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