Vets Lead the Way for RBI at Last Hurrah


CAMAS — The boys from Rural Baseball Inc. packed away their camo and orange sets Sunday night after wrapping their summer season with a 2-2 weekend run at the Last Hurrah Tournament at Louis Bloch Stadium.

The Dirtbags went unorthodox from the start by sending J.C. Workman out to start on the hill for all four games of the tournament. Workman lived up to his surname and tossed 15.1 innings combined while allowing just three earned runs.

"J.C. is a guy that I think every coach would enjoy coaching," RBI pitching coach Nayt Taylor said. "He's one of the best teammates this program has ever had."

In the opener against Showtime on Friday, the Dirtbags let Workman go twice through the lineup before bringing in Ryan Bloomstrom in a jam. The 2021 Toledo graduate finished the next 4.2 innings with six strikeouts and no runs allowed to secure the 5-2 win.

Toledo guys were all over the scorebook for RBI. Mateo Vodjansky helped to get the RBI offense going with a pair of base knocks while Jesse Towns and Bloomstrom added hits to the winning tally.

Colby Biddix, from Rainier, Oregon, whacked a double off the base of the outfield hill to plate a pair of runs that provided much needed separation in the fifth inning.

In the Dirtbags’ first Saturday contest, Workman made it into the fifth inning before yielding to Austin Stout on the hill. Workman allowed just two runs and Stout gave up one of the unearned variety but the RBI offense was slow to wake up as they fell 3-2 against Fort Vancouver.

The Dirtbags managed just two hits all game. Geoff Glass broke up the no-no with an infield single. Hunter Gutenberger continued to wield his bunting tool, but it wasn’t enough.

RBI bounced back in their Saturday nightcap with a 6-0 win over Hockinson. The Dirtbags took a 1-0 lead in the third inning and then held on in a nail-biter until busting the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh. Workman tossed the first four innings and Stout finished the job with six strikeouts over the final three frames.

Towns turned in a performance to remember from his station at second base, including back-to-back sliding plays in opposite directions to snuff out a potential rally in the bottom of the sixth inning with two runners on.

"Jesse has been a pillar of our program," Taylor said. "He's an exceptional leader and teammate and the ultimate utility player. It's going to be weird not having Jesse around."

Caden Norton had the hot bat for the Dirtbags going 3 for 4 with a double off the top of the fence at the top of the hill in left field, along with a run scored and a pair of runs driven in. Todd Tabor and Vodjansky each added a pair of hits.

The paperback ending wasn’t in the cards for RBI on Sunday, though, as they fell 3-2 to the Aberdeen Apes in the season finale. Tabor, Towns, Bloomstrom and Norton all notched hits in the loss.

Tabor also caught every inning of the tournament for RBI, and started behind the dish in a nine-inning game against MAC on Thursday.

"Todd's another pillar to the program and he's improved every year," Taylor said. "His bat and his arm really improved this summer and I'm excited to see his senior campaign."

Workman once again got the Dirtbags going in game four, spinning the first 3.2 innings and allowing just one run before handing the ball off one more time to Bloomstrom. A run in the fifth and another in the sixth for the Apes erased the Dirtbags’ 2-1 advantage for good as tough luck found the Dirtbags’ most trusted pitcher.

"Ryan was a great addition to our program," Taylor said. "He was our ace all summer as well as our everyday shortstop. He's got a bright baseball future ahead of him."