Henley took advantage of a crucial error in the bottom of the second inning, which proved deadly for Seaside Wednesday.
The error opened the door, and Henley responded and turned a 1-0 lead into a 6-0 advantage as the second-ranked Hornets went on to a 12-0 romp over the travel-weary Seagulls at Rosser Field in the first round of the Class 4A state baseball playoffs.
“It was a big play,” Henley coach Adam Randall said. “All season, bunts have been a big part of our game.”
After Skyler Howard and Trevor Rote both singled, Henley lead-off batter Andrew Reynolds dropped a well-place bunt down the first-base line. Seaside pitcher Payton Westerholm dropped the ball in attempted tag on Reynolds.
Hayden Rasica followed with a two-run single, and his brother, Heith, later launched a three-run home run over the leftfield fence which gave the Hornets plenty of breathing room against the 15th-ranked Seagulls.
“I was just looking to hit a pitch in the zone and get a good swing on the ball, and two of them went over,” Heith Rasica said after he two home runs and a double to drive in five runs for the Hornets, who pushed their season record to 22-4.
His second homer came in the fourth inning and his double was part of a four-run sixth-inning effort that gave Henley a double-digit lead.
In the Oregon School Activities Association, the 10-run mercy rule does not apply in single games, like Wednesday’s contest.
“We knew they liked to throw outside, go low and outside, and they made a couple of mistakes,” Heith Rasica said of the four Seaside pitchers.
It all helped Hayden Rasica, who finished with a five-hitter. He struck out 10 and did not walk a batter.
“Hayden kept the ball down, otherwise he pitched about the same as he usually does,” catcher Blake Loney said, who said Henley expected Seaside to be a challenge.
“They are always good in football and basketball, and have good athletes, but we’re in the playoffs and every team’s a threat.”
The next threat for Henley will come Friday when Philomath/Alsea visits Rosser Field. The game time will be determined today. A doubleheader of some sort will take place since the Henley softball team also will host Philomath/Alsea in the quarterfinals.
■ Hayden Rasica also had three hits for Henley in Wednesday’s win, two singles and a triple. He had two runs batted in.
■ John Tacchini also homered for the Hornets.
■ Loney and Rote both had two Henley hits, and one of Loney’s was a double.
■ Seaside, which had to win at Ontario Saturday to make the first round of the playoffs, saw its season come to a close with an 11-13 record.
■ Both Henley and Seaside lost to North Marion this season.
■ Friday’s game with Philomath/Alsea will be the second of the season for Henley. The Hornets won at Philomath, 8-4, March 15.