The Moscow High School baseball team remained huddled in left field long after Tuesday’s 5-2 home loss to Lewiston, discussing the positives from its defeat. Meanwhile, the victorious Bengals ran sprints in right field to account for their shortcomings at the Moscow School District Community Playfields.
The mixed bag of attitudes was a sign of the differing statuses of the Inland Empire League foes. Lewiston, of the 5A classification — Idaho’s largest — expects to compete with the top dogs in the state. Moscow, in Class 4A, fields a young team with little varsity experience and was happy to be within striking distance.
So while the outcome officially goes down as a win for the Bengals and a loss for the Bears, you wouldn’t know it from talking to the head coaches.
“If we can figure some things out, I think that we can be right there with anybody at the end,” Lewiston coach Davey Steele said. “But if we just stay the course right now, I think we’re going to have a hard time.”
Moscow coach Griffin Rod’s lens was different.
“For us to play a big school like that and compete with them in a fashion where anybody could have won, even down to the last inning,” he said. “It was just a really good baseball game.”
Steele’s main gripe was his team’s offense, which stranded eight runners on base and struck out 10 times. The Bengals (4-5, 4-1) had a chance to extend their lead in the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out, but a popout and a strikeout looking ended that threat.
Lewiston had at least one strikeout in six of the game’s seven innings and struck out three times in the top of the first.
“Struck out too many times. We have a hard time putting the ball in play right now,” Steele said. “(Ten) K’s, all you’re asking the (pitcher) to do is throw it and the catcher to catch it and you’re out. (Ten) times of your 21 outs you get in a ballgame, that’s just unacceptable.”
The Bengals scored all they needed in their three-run second, highlighted by Killian Fox’s two-run single. Carson Kolb’s RBI single in the third and an error in the fourth gave the visitors a 5-0 lead.
Moscow (2-3, 2-3) got two back in the sixth, scoring on an error and a passed ball. The Bears got runners into scoring position in all but two innings, but couldn’t cash in. Lewiston pitchers Fox, Elliott Taylor and Christopher Ricard combined to strike out 14 and walk one.
Yet Rod was pleased with the progress his team showed. The Bears didn’t play their first game until March 27, later than most teams in the state, and have quickly logged five contests since.
“You’d love to get a win, of course,” Rod said. “But seeing the steps in the right direction is all we’re asking at this point.”
Fox, Quinton Edmison, Kolb and Kayden Carpenter had one hit apiece for the Bengals who, with the win, snapped a four-game losing streak. Lewiston next plays at noon Saturday in a doubleheader at Post Falls.
Mike Kiblen, Chad Redinger, Ryan Delusa and Devon Conway each had a hit for the Bears. Kiblen started on the mound and tallied eight strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Moscow continues its season Saturday at Lake City.
Lewiston 031 100 0—5 4 1
Moscow 000 002 0—2 4 3
Killian Fox, Elliott Taylor (4), Christopher Ricard (6) and Quinton Edmison; Mike Kiblen, Barrett Abendroth (4), Ryan Delusa (7) and Jack Bales.
Lewiston hits — Fox, Edmison, Carson Kolb, Kayden Carpenter.
Moscow hits — Kiblen, Chad Redinger, Delusa, Devon Conway.
Guernsey may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, (208) 848-2268 or on Twitter @MD_Guernsey.