An Eagle runner beats the throw into Nyssa third baseman Cameron Elguezabal during the opening game of the new Bulldog baseball field. Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa swept Nyssa in both games. (The Enterprise/John L. Braese)
NYSSA – In sports, the idea of a home game is one where local fans can walk down, cheer on the team, and then walk home. The familiarity of the bleachers is apparent, friends meeting friends, often sitting in the same seats game after game.
That hasn’t been the case for the Nyssa baseball team.
Because of construction, the baseball field disappeared last year and then into this season. New sod, hampered by cool weather, failed to take root. While waiting, the Bulldogs played home games in Ontario and even – shudder – in Vale. Home games weren’t truly home games.
That all came to an end last Friday as the Dawgs finally took to the field in their own hometown and on their own field.
“We still have some work to do, but it is good to be home,” said Nyssa Coach Luke Cleaver.
True, the scoreboard still sits in the parking lot, inoperable still, and there is still some fine tuning to do with the field, but the crowd didn’t care. The Bulldogs were home and the fans were in the stands.
A formal dedication will take place next season for a field that will be named after former coach Juan Elguezabal.
The field is one more sports upgrade for Nyssa. The track was resurfaced four years ago. A new soccer field was completed and a concession stand is planned to service fans soon. A parking lot for the complex also is planned.
As the day was sunny, the field ready and the fans in the stands, only the visiting team of Enterprise/Joseph/Wallowa put a damper on the day.
The Eagles swept the Dawgs 15-3 and 13-1.
The problems started early in the first game as two fly balls were dropped in the first inning. Scoring five runs in the first inning, the Eagles added four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to walk away with the victory.
Agustin Trujillo took the loss for Nyssa, going five innings and striking out six Eagle batters.
A five-run first inning cost the Bulldogs game two and the Eagles added four runs in the third inning and ended a five-inning game with three runs.
Elijah Cleaver was on the mound for just over four innings for Nyssa, striking out five.
Things didn’t improve for the Bulldogs Saturday, when they traveled to Payette and dropped a 25-0 decision in a five-inning game.
The Pirates scored 10 runs in the first inning, adding 14 runs in the second.
Jakob Hernandez went just over two innings on the mound for Nyssa, striking out four.
Nyssa (1-6 Eastern Oregon League, 1-17 overall) was scheduled to host Payette on Tuesday. Due to press time, results were unavailable.
The Bulldogs are back into league play on Friday, on the road in Umatilla (1-6 league, 5-7 overall) for two games.
Hometown fans will have the chance to sit in their own stands Tuesday, May 8.