By Jeremy McDonald
PORTLAND, Ore.–The Comeback Kids. The Cardiac Kids. Those Resilient Few.
Whatever you may want to call the Santiam Senators, they keep finding a way to impress and stun opponents.
Tuesday afternoon at Wilson High School, that trend continued with a sweep of Wilson 9-4, 9-5; but it wasn’t without some work to do so.
Game one, under sunny and beautiful skies, the Senators were slugging out of the gate. But looked like they were still recovering from the DeMarini Wood Bat Tournament this past weekend in Salem only leading by one, 5-4, after two innings.
“It was great,” said Jacob Haller. “I think we played good throughout the weekend, it was a little rough but we really came today with some fire and excitement to play again. We kept our heads up. The second game, we battled back and it was a great effort by the team.”
But, thanks to those same bats from the opening innings, and the Brandon Gieselman-led defense; Santiam would move past any negative energy from the tournament and those first two innings and shutout Wilson in the remaining five innings to pick up win number eight on the season and 4-0 in the league.
“It just shows that we can put all the bad stuff behind us,” said Noah Ferguson. “The team’s we lost too, they’re good teams, they’re Triple-AAA teams and there’s a team from Australia that ended up winning the tournament.
“We play good teams…it just shows that we can put the past behind us and keep positive all the way through it and hopefully we can take these two wins today into our next league games and stay undefeated in league.”
Gieselman pitched a complete game in the Doubleheader opener.
Game two was a stalemate for most of the game. Teams had opportunities to score thanks to hits or errors as they were tied entering the sixth.
The intensity was thick. Which one of these two fireworks teams would have the bigger bang? The best explosion for the win?
That’s when Wilson tacked up two runs through a combination of errors and hits of the Senators to built a 4-2 lead and putting momentum squarely in their favor.
You heard in the Santiam dugout that they need hit, they need runs, they need a rally. Some kind of rally to get back into this one.
The Senators walked out with their firework, lit the fuse, and put on a show.
They churned out seven runs from anything from capitalizing errors, walks or even hits as they’re known for; and by innings end, a 4-2 deficit, momentum against them was now a 9-4 lead with momentum into the seventh.
Needing just three outs. Nine strikes or a three-pitch inning, Caleb Clevenger and crew came out. Clevenger was the Game two starter and threw a 96 pitch complete game.
They maybe came out a little to confidently as Wilson came out and quickly got a run with a guy at first. But a batter later, a grounder to Ryan Brown was turned into a double play as Brown threw to Gieselman for the final out.
“The seventh inning was a little shaky there because of a few errors might give them a chance to come back in,” said Ferguson. “But that double play really killed it for them and it’s a great way to end the game on a double play.”
Whatever you may call them, The Comeback/Cardiac Kids, resilient, etc. these boys are here to make some noise and show the league and the State of Oregon, what they’re made of as they take about a week off in between games.
During this time, Haller and company knows that him and his crew can appreciate their success, but know they still need to get better moving forward.
“Just be confident with what we’ve done so far because we’ve played great so far,” he said. “Just stay confident like that, work hard in practice and keep getting better.”
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PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)