By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– North Salem found their groove in the Western Oregon University tournament.
Confidence was high, the bats were swinging, the defense made plays; the Vikings found themselves in the Championship Bracket of the tournament Sunday afternoon.
And though it didn’t end the way they wanted, a 4-1 loss to Marist, North can walk away with their heads held high.
“It built a lot of confidence for us,” said Jake Mason. “It shows that we can win at a high level and I’m hoping we can carry that into league and do well in playoffs.”
The game started behind a strong defense by the Vikings with a 6K performance by Mason and plays defensively like Brian Bernal’s ESPN Top 10 play in the fifth inning for the second out of that particular inning.
The only blips against the Vikings up to that point were four hits and one error that had Marist up 3-0 entering the sixth.
“I like it a lot,” said Mason. “I felt like we had a lot of confidence today fielding the ball. Sometimes we lack in confidence and it felt good today.”
Offensively for the boys in Red, the offense that was so prominent Day one found a few holes for hits against the tough defense of Marist with three hit through six.
A hit batter in the bottom of the sixth had increase the lead to 4-0.
Joe Dixon had a mammoth shot to the right field fence to start the Top of the seventh, Cameron Kallhoff moved him over on a sacrifice hit. Zach Goodwin sacrifice fly couldn’t bring him home.
Danny Alvarado battled to bring Dixon home with two outs, but they couldn’t get a two-out rally going to win, falling 4-1 to Marist.
But, as Dixon points out, they’ve faced three styles of pitching during this tournament, which will be beneficial come the Spring.
“I think we have a lot of varsity kids who are moving up next year and so we’re looking solid for next year,” said Dixon.
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PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)