By Jeremy McDonald
TIGARD, Ore.– It was a learning experience nonetheless for the South Salem baseball team as they saw their 4-1 lead disappear as the Saxons dropped their season opener 6-4 Thursday afternoon on the road.
“We definitely need to finish games,” said Ryan Brown. “Sean (Alvarado) threw a great game and we got up on them and we kind of let them ease back in without putting a fight up. We made a few errors and got into our heads and it made it even worse. So we need to go through the game constantly and not have those ups-and-downs.”
Coming out of the gate, Alvarado pitched three strong innings as the sophomore picked up key strikeouts as they built up the 4-1 lead entering the middle innings of the contest as the bats of Tori Doten, a Brown Sacrifice hit and a monster hit by Aaron Zavala to build the lead behind their pitcher.
“Personally when I go up there and I have a good game, everything I’m doing is right on point,” said Alvarado. “Most of it is having confidence. If my confidence is on and I’m throwing good, I feel like no one can touch my stuff.”
But, though Gavin Fredinburg pitched well, some mental mistakes in the form of errors allowed the Tigers to comeback into the game as Tigard took a 6-4 lead entering the sixth inning thanks in part to a three-run fifth inning to take the lead.
It’s something that this young team needs to work on moving forward, to stay on the gas and not letting up.
“The idea of getting an early lead and keeping the gas on and not losing our aggression that we had on early and behind that making sure that taking care of the baseball,” described Head Coach Max Price. “The next couple of days, we’re going to work on trying to simulate as many curve balls as we can to hit because we had guys freezing up on curve balls and behind that, trying to make sure we’re practicing on the little things like taking care of the baseball…first and third plays, things like that.”
With about a week until their next game in Roseburg, Alvarado speaks to that of how these next few days will help them improve for Roseburg Wednesday.
“I think it’s just taking our mistakes and just improving because stuff that we can work on, fix on in practice,” he said.”But I think it’s just mostly individually, staying agressive and working as a team.”
They built some momentum for practice and for their game versus Roseburg as Cash Layday, Brown and company settled back to their early game success defensively as their offense had used a two-out rally in the Top of the sixth to get bases juiced before a pop out ended the inning as they battled to end the game strong.
“I liked that we did that, but keep that throughout the game,” said Brown. “Because we came out, getting at it for the first time seeing live pitching and we kind of feel asleep and we did wake up to that after that (fifth) inning.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald