By Jeremy McDonald
GRANTS PASS, Ore.– Entering the bottom of the second inning, the North Salem Viking baseball team found themselves up 4-3 on a Grants Pass team that’s known to lay some wood on the horsehide so far this season.
With a handful of players with varsity experience when they left for the Crater Tournament this past weekend, the young North team picked up some valuable experience needed to compete with the likes of West Salem, Sprague, McNary and South Salem coming Tuesday.
The biggest thing point to, was the mental focus, communication and leadership. Staying in the game throughout instead of in spurts like in Thursdays game versus the Cavemen and having confidence within themselves.
“Its just mental, you have to be strong mentally,” said Luna, who hit a homerun Tuesday versus Franklin. “If your strong mentally, you can pull out anything, no matter what the situation is. Stay strong mentally, you can get through anything.
“If we piece it all together we’re solid. Play for each other, come out successful.”
Some hiccups in the mental focus and communication allowed Grants Pass to score three first inning runs, then six in the bottom of the second as the Vikings saw their one-run lead turn into a 9-4 deficit by the time they picked up their bats again for the third.
Cameron Kallhoff, who pitched against Liberty Tuesday in Game 2 of that doubleheader, says that playing competition like the Cavemen, like Liberty and Century, are a good measuring stick for them to see how important it is to be on top of their game and how they can improve for their game versus the Celtics Tuesday.
”It’s been good for us because we’ve been through a lot more situations together and know what each other are going to do,” said Kallhoff. “And just knowing what to do and how everyone’s going to react to everything.
North Salem produced a quick 1,2,3 inning that was capped by a diving Hunter Sullivan catch in Right Field to end the inning as they look to reduce the deficit.
They couldn’t reproduce their offense that helped them score four times on six hits as Grants Pass took advantage of the mental miscues by the Vikings as the game ended in a five-inning, 15-4 result.
“Well, we’re putting them in competitive situations and see how they react,” said Lee of how he hopes the team will respond moving forward from these games. “They have to facing that competitive situation no one’s going to help them.
“We have guys who are looking for help all the time and they have to go out there and compete after they’ve been shown what to do and now they have to go out there and do it now.
North Salem opens Greater Valley Conference play at McNary for a 5pm first-pitch.