By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Under first-year Head Coach Steve Salisbury, excitment is there as the Stayton Eagle baseball team went out in between the raindrops for their game versus a very tough Valley Catholic squad following their strong season opening performance versus a tough Central team Thursday.
“It’s amazingly better, we do so much more, really hands on,” said Jordan Butler on Salisbury and his staff this year.
Both the Panthers and the Valiants combined 2016 record was 30-19 as the Eagles held a 1-0 lead on Central entering the sixth inning in the 5-1 loss, but they finished strong as they had a great warm-up Friday for Valley Catholic.
Down 3-0 entering the third inning, Stayton had glimpses of Thursday’s success against the Valiants as starting pitcher Riley Nichol and his young company were looking for something against the senior-heavy squad in front of them.
However, Valley Catholic showed why they went 20-5 in 2016 and used the fire after their 10-2 loss to North Marion recently as they took advantage of how flat the Eagles were as they tallied 13 runs, third-inning runs to build a 16-0 lead entering the bottom of the third inning.
The question was, how did a team that had a 1-0 lead on a good Central Panther team be on the wrong side of the coin today.
Nichol points to the energy and teammate Brayden Neuharth seconded that as they were doing so well entering the game.
“Really I don’t think anyone really can,It starts with a good infield-outfield if we don’t have the right energy, you can’t get anything going,” said Nichol.
“We had energy, we had good pre-game and even when we were batting over there…we started off slow and flat and we couldn’t get it done,” adds Neuharth.
Jared Mitchell came in during the fourth inning and had a great outing as he had three strikeouts, a fourth was a dropped strikeout as the Valiant batter was safely got aboard as a walk-run and a hit allowed Valley Catholic to built a 18-0 lead entering the fifth inning as Stayton.
“Well, definitely our energy has been lacking the last couple of games,” said Nichol. “But coaches know that, we know that and we need to pick that up definitely, we’ll work on it.”
Neuharth described that there was confidence after how they preformed against the Panthers Thursday as they thought they’ll have similar success Friday. But the sophomore catcher/outfielder knows it’ll start with practice the next time they meet up as they prepare for Tuesday’s game at Molalla.
“We just need to work harder in practice mainly,” said Neuharth. “We gave up before that game even started. We thought we were going to come in and kill them and that wasn’t the case obviously.”
As they had a lengthy team discussion after the game, and the looks on the faces of the baseball team when they adjourn, it won’t take long for them to fix their errors with the Indians coming up on Tuesday on their first road test of the year.
First pitch is at 4:30pm.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald