Cameron Ordway throws to the plate in a 3-0 shutout win Wednesday over Sweet Home. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Cameron Ordway loves to play shortstop. A senior with the Philomath High baseball team, No. 10 possesses exceptional range with a strong arm and the ability to field cleanly. Shortstop is widely considered to be the most valuable defensive position.

But with a level of baseball talent that also includes a pretty good fastball and improved movement on his breaking ball, Ordway also helps the team when he vacates the 6-hole and takes the mound.

In a 3-0 victory Wednesday over Sweet Home at Stephenson Field, Ordway threw a complete-game four-hitter with just two walks while striking out eight in a 106-pitch appearance. So far this season, he has a 2-1 record with a 1.59 ERA and .234 opponent batting average.

“It’s definitely gotten easier to be out there and more confidence is really helping me out this senior year,” Ordway said about pitching, “but shortstop will forever be my home definitely.”

Coach Levi Webber said Ordway will often say that he doesn’t like to pitch but once he’s on the mound, he wants to finish what he starts.

“It’s one of those things where he obviously loves playing shortstop, but he’s a competitor, too,” Webber said. “Once the juices start flowing and he starts to compete a little bit, it’s really hard to get the ball out of his hand.”

Sweet Home (2-6 overall, 0-1 Oregon West) couldn’t get much going offensively all afternoon. Lewis Conn led off the third with a single but didn’t go any further than second. In the fourth, Casey Volloni singled but the defense turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. In the fifth, Josh Wilson walked but when the next batter flew out to Carson Gerding in center field, he wasn’t able to get back to first in time and was doubled off. And in the sixth, Russell Holly hit a two-out double over the right fielder’s head but Philomath ended the inning on a ground-ball out to Mason Stearns at shortstop.

“I’ve been trying to switch it up a lot but I just found my home with the curve,” Ordway said. “That’s what I’ve been focused on.”

Shortstop Mason Stearns flips the ball to second baseman David Griffith. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath (4-6 overall, 3-1 Oregon West) as a team has been performing well on the mound. Heading into a Thursday doubleheader at Sweet Home, Ordway had by far the most innings pitched at 22.

“On that side of the ball with our pitching and our defense, we’re right where we needed to be the last few games,” Webber said. “Very few errors, pitching the ball really well, throwing a lot of strikes, getting guys out. So the pitching part of it has been fantastic.”

Ordway was also the top hitter for Philomath in the game with a 3-for-3 performance that represented half of the team’s hits. Overall, the Warriors have seen their share of struggles in the batter’s box.

“We’ve just got to make a couple of minor tweaks on the offensive side of things and get that thing rolling,” Webber said. “You’ve got to make sure we can make adjustments and put barrels on baseballs.”

As a team, Philomath is hitting .307 but consistency has been an issue. Ordway has the team’s top batting average at .517.

“Our team is off and on right now,” Ordway said. “Some days we show up and we hit lights out and some days we just can’t find it.”

In the win over Sweet Home, the Warriors broke a scoreless tie in the third. Ordway got aboard with a one-out double to left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a David Griffith ground-out.

The Warriors added another run to their lead in the fifth. Ordway hit a one-out single to left, stole both second and third, and advanced home on an error.

The third run came in the sixth. Stearns walked, stole second and scored on a Ty May single up the middle.

 “I love the way we’re pitching the baseball right now and playing that defense behind them,” Webber said. “That’s something to build off of for sure.”

Philomath’s Ty May doubles off a Sweet Home base runner trying to get back to first on a fly out. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The game was the first this season for catcher Logan Carter, who had been recovering from an ankle injury suffered at the state boys basketball tournament. On the coaching staff, Webber has a new assistant in Taylor Burner.

The Warriors and Huskies are scheduled to play two games on Thursday at Sweet Home. The series opener that had been scheduled for Monday was rained out and Webber hoped to arrange for games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However, the umpire shortage came into play with none available for a game on Tuesday, so the schools settled on a Thursday twinbill.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.