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Clearwater Valley Rams charge ahead in doubleheader sweep of Bulldogs

Apr. 27—GENESEE — The Clearwater Valley Rams of Kooskia outshined the Genesee Bulldogs on all three levels in a Whitepine League baseball doubleheader on Friday.

The Rams downed the Bulldogs 13-1 and 11-0 at Genesee High School. The sweep gave Clearwater Valley (10-11, 7-5) its third straight win. With the victories, the Rams have a winning record in league after hovering around .500 since April 2.

"(We didn't) let up today," Clearwater Valley coach Josh Bradley said. "Genesee's one of those teams that you don't want to overlook them. They're young but they're developing. I was proud that we came out and did what we did today."

Despite a few flashes from Genesee (6-9, 3-7), Clearwater Valley was able to stay the course, in part due to its strong starts.

Rams build a hill for Bulldogs to climb

In the opening of both games, the Rams made a point to start fast and get ahead early.

At the end of the first inning in Game 1, Clearwater Valley led 3-0. After the opening frame in Game 2, it led 4-0.

The Rams' early spurts were spurred by a pair of RBI singles from Tiago Pickering and Landon Schlieper, two RBI by way of a single and a sacrifice fly courtesy of Barak Meyer and an RBI single from Josh Gardner.

"The last two games, I've kind of just hit balls right to people," Schlieper said. "So these games, I kind of sat back and drove a couple balls in, got a couple RBI. ... Our sticks have been hot these last few games. And I think if we just pitch well and trust in our defense then we can come on the right side of a lot of these close games."

The offense came in a variety of ways for the Rams.

Trebor Altman hit an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the second inning in Game 1. A few more players scored via errors. Schlieper continued his strong performance at the plate and totaled five RBI across the doubleheader.

This offensive showing was coupled with stellar pitching and defense. Altman was also the starting pitcher in Game 1 for Clearwater Valley and struck out 11 Genesee batters while walking three and letting up one run on two hits. Pickering got the nod on the mound in Game 2 and struck out 10 batters while allowing one hit and no walks.

Defensively, the Rams committed no errors in the pair of games. The Bulldogs had 10.

Clearwater Valley had control from the first pitch on both sides of the twinbill, but Genesee still had flashes that were somewhat encouraging for a young team still trying to find its identity.

Bulldogs show potential

The Bulldogs totaled three hits across the doubleheader and had the aforementioned hiccups on defense. The pitching also had a rough go with their part in giving up 24 runs across the doubleheader.

But in moments, there were signs of potential and growth from Genesee.

In the third inning of Game 1, which housed the Bulldogs' lone run of the game, Teak Wareham had an RBI single. Two more runners got on base after Wareham's knock, but were left stranded.

In the final inning of the doubleheader, Genesee retired the side in just four at-bats. All three outs came from cross-field throws from third base to first. At that point, the game was well in-hand for the Rams, but it was a noticeable improvement from a Bulldogs defense that, to that point, struggled on a couple routine infield plays.

"We're trying to work on (being more consistent)," Genesee coach Pete Crowley said. "If I knew for sure how, that's exactly what we'd implement. But I think it's just continuing to believe. We got to be honest, (Clearwater Valley) is a better team than we are right now. But that doesn't mean on any given day that we can't still put things together. We've shown flashes, we just got to be more consistent. And I think that starts with just believing and then repetition, repetition, repetition."

Clearwater Valley heating up in final stretch

Throughout the season, Clearwater Valley, which finished second in last year's Idaho Class 1A state tournament, has been on the losing end of several competitive contests. The Rams are now the beneficiaries of three straight wins, including one against Troy — the two-time defending state champions.

Three games are left in the regular season for the Rams. Two of them in league. If Clearwater Valley can win those two contests, it will have built some momentum going into the Whitepine League tournament starting May 10.

"These guys play well together," Bradley said. "We talk about the family atmosphere a lot. It's easy when everything's going great. It's easy. But you throw in a few losses or tough beats, and that's when things can fall apart. And these guys have done a great job at just sticking together. So that's the key, that's the glue for everything."

GAME 1

Genesee 001 00—1 2 8

Clearwater Valley 322 6x—13 10 0

Joe Johnson, Joe Frye (4) and Noah Bollman; Trebor Altman and Tiago Pickering.

Genesee hits — Teak Wareham 2 (2B).

Clearwater Valley hits — Altman 2 (HR), Pickering 2, Jake Fabbi (2B), Landon Schlieper (2B), Thomas Wellard (2B), Barak Meyer, Josh Gardner, Carson Schilling.

GAME 2

Clearwater Valley 420 50—11 15 0

Genesee 000 00— 0 1 2

Tiago Pickering and Jake Fabbi; Kole Scharnhorst, Jackson Banks (5) and Joe Johnson.

Clearwater Valley hits — Landon Schlieper 3 (2B), Pickering 2, Trebor Altman 2, Barak Meyer 2, Josh Gardner 2, Talon Meyer (2B), Harvey Wellard, Jake Fabbi, Thomas Wellard.

Genesee hit — Johnson.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, tkowatsch@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.