By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– There was a lot of positive to take away from their game versus Catlin Gabel as the young Salem Academy baseball team found out Saturday afternoon at Volcanoes Stadium.
With three freshman pitchers seeing significant amount of playing time, the Crusaders were finding ways to work through the growing pains that a young team goes through to get better; and it was there as they settled in following a rough first inning defensively that saw the Eagles take a 3-1 lead thanks in part to three Salem Academy errors.
When they did settle in behind their young arms, the Crusaders saw two familiar names in Zach Alrdich and Hunter BeDoya leading the way as they eventually took a 4-3 lead following Devon BeDoyas double that brought brother Hunter home for the go-ahead run entering the bottom of the third.
“Our pitchers threw strikes, we had freshman pitchers throwing,” said Aldrich. “Which is something, it doesn’t happen. So they threw strikes and we backed them up, everyone kept their heads high and that’s important baseball because if you don’t have a short-term memory things are going to go bad quickly.
“So I’m proud of them, everyone worked hard. We got things to work on and we’re going to improve.”
Jadon Mansur, Michael Pass and Luke Miller all saw action on the bump as they held Catlin Gabel to three total hits as their defense held strong for much of the remainder of the game, until a slight hiccup in the sixth allowed Catlin Gabel to regain the lead for good to hand the Crusaders their first lost of the year, 5-4
“It hurts a little bit, but it’s early in the season,” said Aldrich. “We got a lot of young guys, a lot of young guys. It’s a learning experience really. We got some guys gone, everyone’s making plays, everyone’s working hard.
“We’ll move on and we’ll go back to practice, we’ll hit the cages. We’ll get groundballs, we’ll take pop-flys and we get better.”
But, no time to dwell on the past as Salem Academy will turn-and-burn to face Portlamd Christian at 11:30am for the finale of the Volcanoes Spring Break Tournament as they look to finish it strong with a wim.
“Our guys are ready, I think the guys are ready to get that win and come out with a fire,” said Aldrich. “Tomorrow we’re going to face a good team and we’re going to hit the ball and that’s going to be our goal, to hit the ball well. Back up our pitchers, take care on what we need to do and I think we’ll be ok.”
UPDATE: The game Sunday was rained out, Salem Academy travels to Creswell Thursday for a 430pm first pitch.
TRACK AND FIELD
Coming out of the Regis Co-Ed Relays Icebreaker in Stayton on March 23, Salem Academy saw some of their depth put to the test against some quality competition,
2016 District winner in Shot-Put and Javelin Morgan Strunak took the shot-put during the Icebreaker as the senior looks to carry last year’s success into 2017. Younger brother Mason showed promise in that Icebreaker in the Discus as he looks to help his brother this year as a freshman thrower.
Gage Hazelton adds depth to the jumps as new faces on the girls side in Kara Standridge and Krista Mulkey will be new faces on the team as they’ll both run in the 4×100 relay, 100 meter and 200 meter Open Divisions when Standridge will join in on the jumps to help fill the gaps left by graduating seniors from last year.
Wilson McLean, who won the 300meter Hurdles and 400 meter dash District Titles and finished eighth in the State in the 400 race at State, is excited to see how the team does entering this year. Especially the girls side of the team.
“I think we’re looking pretty good,” said McLean. “I’m really exciting to see how we do this year because we got a lot more depth in the jumps and the throws this year.
“I’m kind of curious to see how their season goes, they’ve lost some seniors but they’re bringing on some new people like Kara Standridge and Krista Mulkey,” said Wilson McLean on the girls side.
Mulkey finished third in the Long Jump in the Icebreaker, her first High School Track and Field event as she joins junior Kaytlin Warner finished fifth in the Javelin as she looks to improve upon her third place finish at Districts as a sophomore in the field events for the Crusaders.
Other Notables: Grant Webb, Davis McHugh, Sarah Kenyon, Sam Kenyon, (If I forgot anyone, please let me know!)
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald