The Papermakers baseball team put on a hitting clinic at Heritage High School in Vancouver, dominating the game from the first inning with a 9-2 victory on Monday, April 9.
Senior Luke Bruno got the win, moving to 3-0 on the mound, needing just 69 pitches over five innings of work to put away the Timberwolves. Bruno finished the game with six strikeouts and did not allow an earned run.
Bruno also did well behind the plate, getting onto base and scoring in the first inning.
“He’s pretty much been our ace all year and the guy we like to line up against other teams as our No. 1, plus he’s a solid hitter as well,” Camas head baseball coach Stephen Short said.
Junior catcher Grant Heiser drove in the first run of the game in the first inning with a double.
“Heiser has been terrific behind the plate all season and is hitting the ball really well,” Short said.
A team effort on offense saw six different Papermakers driving in runs, highlighted by Sam Malychewski who finished 2 for 4, including a solo shot over the Heritage scoreboard in right field.
The Papermakers are young this season and inexperienced in the infield, however most are familiar faces from the highly successful Camas football team. Other than Bruno, the infield consists of all new starters. But the young, athletic players are showing they can learn quickly.
The players spent their spring break competing in games and learning valuable lessons during a trip to Chico, California.
During the team’s first game against Chico, played right after their long bus ride to California, the Papermakers came out flat and lost 9-0.
However, the same day, during the afternoon double-header, Camas scored nine runs in the first inning and ended up winning the game 20-14.
Standouts from the trip include Trevor Bentley who finished hitting 6 for 11 with a double, homerun, and four RBI. Luke Bruno hit over .500, including a perfect 5 for 5 in one game against Chico High School.
“From scoring zero to 20 in the same day was really something to watch, we ended up averaging 10 runs a game, but needed to score 20 points in one game to get there,” Short said.
The coach added that being young is a good place to be and said he is happy his team is sitting at 3-1 in league play this early in the season.
“I really like how we’re learning from our mistakes, because we’re going into our two games against Skyview next week, so we still control our destiny and we are only a third of the way through league play at this point,” Short said.
Skyview could be the toughest competition in the league this year for the Papermakers, as the Storm finished third in state last season and has 12 players returning from last year’s team.
In Monday’s blowout game against Heritage, the Papermakers’ younger players really stepped up.
Sophomore Josh Mansur had a two-run RBI hit and Jason Neve hit a double — something that’s become a habit for a player who just recently moved into the starting lineup as a designated hitter.
Coach Short said Neve is the biggest surprise of the year, so far. During the spring break trip, in a game against Grants Pass, Neve led the way, slugging in two doubles and driving in two runs.
“He’s really earned more opportunities in the lineup and he’s really capitalizing on those opportunities, so he’s going to get a lot more,” Short said.