Putnam splits with the defending state champs, and the Kingsmen rally to beat Wilsonville

The Rex Putnam Kingsmen were impressive in last week’s Northwest Oregon Conference baseball openers with 2014 Class 5A state champion Sherwood and 2014 Class 5A state semifinalist Wilsonville.

The Kingsmen on Friday rallied late to drop the Wildcats 10-5, after splitting with Sherwood in two close games earlier in the week.

“It was a good week,” said Putnam coach Jason Stanley. “We had three close games with two of the more solid programs in the league. We came from behind to beat Sherwood after a tough loss, and we battled from behind to beat Wilsonville. Two comeback wins against good teams. That shows a lot of character from our kids.”

Trailing 4-2 after five innings, the Kingsmen rallied for three runs in the sixth inning and five more in the seventh to beat Wilsonville in Friday’s game at Wilsonville.

Jesse Countrymen reached on an error to lead off the top of the sixth. Matt Schwietz walked and Trace Loehr singled to load up the bases.

Dylan Knoth walked to force in a run, and Alex Martin doubled to right, putting the Kingsmen up 5-4.

And the floodgates opened in the top of the seventh, when the Kingsmen strung together four hits with a hit batsman, a walk and a fielder’s choice in a five-run rally. All five runs were scored with two down.

Nick Edwards reached as a hit batsman to lead off the inning. Two outs later, Sean Deford plated Countrymen with a run-scoring single for what would prove the winning run.

Loehr walked and Deford scored on a base hit by Knoth. Josh Bancroft doubled in Loehr, and Martin brought two more runs around with a three-bagger to right.

Wilsonville had two runners on base when the game ended. Deford flagged down a fly ball in right field and Sam Booth snagged a fly in center for the final two outs of the game.

Deford pitched the first three innings for Putnam, striking out three, while yielding four hits and four earned runs.

Kyle McCuin threw the last four frames and picked up the win, striking out four, walking three, while giving up three hits and one earned run.

Loehr (3-for-3, 3 runs scored), Martin (3-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 runs) and Josh Bancroft (3-for-5, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 runs) headed up Putnam’s offense, as the Kingsmen outhit their hosts 11-7.

Putnam scored five runs in the final two innings to pull out an 8-7 win over the Bowmen on April 9.

Trailing 7-3, the Kingsmen scored three runs on three hits, a walk and a Bowmen error in the bottom of the sixth. Knoth plated the first run with two down on a single up the middle. Following a walk, Martin hammered a two-run single, and the Kingsmen were within a run, trailing 7-6.

Putnam reliever McCuin and the Kingsmen defense made it 3-up and 3-down in the top of the seventh.

Edwards reached on a walk to lead off Putnam’s seventh, but was put out at second when Schwietz reached on a fielder’s choice.

With two down, Deford and Loehr drew free passes.

The Bowmen then attempted to get Loehr in a force play at second, when Knoth (3-for-3, 3 RBI) hit a ground ball to Sherwood’s shortstop. Loehr beat the throw to the bag, and Schwietz raced home to tie things up at 7-7.

Bancroft (2-for-3, 2 RBI) singled to right, and the game belonged to Putnam.

McCuin picked up the win, allowing two hits and one unearned run in two innings of relief of starter Braynden Van Wormer (6 hits, 3 strikeouts, 4 walks, 5 earned runs).

The Kingsmen lost to Sherwood 4-3 on April 7, but they nearly pulled out a win in that game. The contest ended with Loehr left stranded at third base.

Schwietz singled with one down in the top of the seventh and scored with two down when Loehr tagged a triple. The game ended when Knoth grounded out to shortstop.

The Kingsmen struggled at the plate against the pitching of Sherwood senior right-hander Riley Moore, who pitched for the Bowmen in last year’s state-title game.

Moore fanned nine and walked no one, while allowing six hits. Knoth went 2-for-4 at the plate in the losing effort.

Martin pitched a complete game for Putnam, striking out two, walking no one and giving up nine hits. The Kingsmen played error-free defense behind Martin.

Putnam (6-5, 2-1) had a home game scheduled with Wilsonville (4-7, 2-1) on April 15. The Kingsmen entertain St. Helens (4-6, 2-1) this afternoon, and they play the Lions on the road on Friday.

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