By Jeremy McDonald
CENTRAL POINT, Ore.–It was a tough way to start the Crater Tournament for the North Salem Vikings Monday at Anhorn Park in Southern Oregon.
The well-hitting Century Jaguars came out swinging against North as they built a 7-0 lead by the third inning of the game.
“(It) was probably nerves, it’s the first-time for a lot of these Varsity guys (here),” said Jake Mason on the start.
Travis Burger came in for relief of Will Tsukamaki and, though there was some ups-and-downs, the freshman kept 0’s on the board for the third, the fourth, the fifth and sixth innings as their offense was given opportunities to cut into the lead.
“I felt like we stayed on the game and we didn’t lose focus on trying to win the game and put up a good effort at the end to comeback,” said Mason.
But, the Vikings were only able to muster two runs, a Cameron Kallhoff steal at home and a Luna Reyes Sacrifice hit in the sixth to cut it to 7-2 as they were trying to find a rhythm with the timing of their bats.
And you sort of saw that mental effect as they went out to defense to start the next inning points Burger.
“We were doing really good on defense, then we weren’t doing good on offense and that led into the start of each inning,” said Burger. “And then it took until the end of the inning for us to get going again.
“So we couldn’t continue getting a good rhythm. But it felt good to come in and do well sometimes, I felt like that final inning I did pretty good.”
Now, there’s a possibility that North Salem will play two Tuesday in preparation to an incoming storm that’s suppose to hit Wednesday, but there’s some momentum in losing this first game like this as they hope to feed off some of the mojo they had late in the game versus Century.
“We’ll try to build off the momentum and keep carrying it on and come out tomorrow and get a ”W’,” said Mason.
“We can use this game as motivation,” adds Burger. “It’s really disappointing to come out here and lose your first game. So we want to come out to practice and focus on hitting pitches right outside because throughout the game we were late on his pitches and we couldn’t hit his outside fastball.
“So we need to use that in tomorrow’s practice, focus up and then take that momentum from practice into the game.”
NOAH BOATWRIGHT COACHING
This time last year, Noah Boatwright was out at shortstop for the North Salem pinstripes as a senior on the squad.
Fast forward nearly a year and now Boatwright, retired from baseball after a shoulder injury over the summer, is now coaching on the Junior Varsity squad for the Vikings.
“Oh it’s definitely weird,” smiled Boatwright on coaching. “I don’t know, the shoulder injury is definitely, that’s why I’m not playing, so I just wanted to keep doing baseball and Coach Lee offered me a opportunity so I took it.”
The 2016 North Salem Grad looks on from the Viking dugout as he saw his former teammates lose a tough one in the Crater Tournament in Central Point as he now sees the sport from a different angle of sorts.
“It was definitely hard to sit back and watch the action, especially in a tough loss,” said Boatwright. “I’m seeing more of the political side of it, but coach Lee and Coach Hoffman know a lot of stuff and great to learn from so its benefiting me a whole lot.”