By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–In a swing of a bat in the bottom of the third by sophomore Ryan Brown, South Salem completed a three-run rally to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead by innings end.
The hit, a bases clearing, two-run double that turned out to put him at third off an error as the hit was nearly a homerun as the ball hit the fence and bounced back back into the field as Brown pushed for third.
For Brown, the hit meant a lot in terms of helping the team out Tuesday.
“Personally for me it was bigger than most people would probably think,” said Brown on the hit. “It was my first league hit in a 6A program, but more towards my teammates and I’m glad I could come through for them and it means the most for me.”
For much of the reminder of the game, it was a defensive battle as neither team picked up much steam with their bats until late in the game.
Coming down to the final three outs for the Bulldogs, they filled the bases with no outs as junior Gavin Fredinburg and his defense were staring down a fork in the road:
Be a hero for South or be a hero for West Albany.
There were nerves as Fredinburg lined up for his first pitch after the bases got loaded.
“My heart was definitely beating, bases load no outs,” said Brown with a smile.
Fredinburg strikes out the first as confidence was building as he picked up a second.
“When that happen, it was…I didn’t know what to think,” said Fredinburg. “After getting that first strikeout, that first out, I had the confidence to finish and that’s what happen.”
Faced with a few balls to two strikes on the board, and everyone on their toes, Fredinburg struck out the final Bulldog batter to seal the 3-2 victory as you saw Fredinburg and his team let out a big sigh of relief knowing they dodge a bullet there for their first Greater Valley Conference win.
“It was a big sign of relief,” said Fredinburg “I wanted to get Sean (Alvardo) the ‘W’. My job is to get the save and I was able to do that.”
Alvardo pitched five-and-a-third with eight strikeouts before Fredinburg came in for the last four outs, picking up all three of his strikeouts in that final frame.
That first strikeout was something of a momentum swing for the junior as he seemed increasingly comfortable with the situation that he was in as he got out of it like he’s been in this situation before.
“It was definitely a big one,” said Fredinburg. “Getting that one, it just gives me momentum.”
And it did.
Head Coach Max Price, who admitted his own nerves during the inning, spoke highly of how Fredinburg stepped up when his team needed him.
“It’ll be like a defining moment for him, it happened really early in the season which is cool,” said Price. “Knowing, basically, coming into a ball game having the bases loaded and nobody out and up one in the final inning and strike out the next three guys. Everything from the rest of the year as far as he goes, should be easy and everything should be a piece of cake after getting through that.
“So the point of that is, by digging deep there and competing, everything that comes from here…nothing would be as difficult than the situation he faced today.”
There’s a good news and interesting news to this storyline:
Good news, South Salem is 1-0 in GVC play, Interesting news is that the Saxons will have to face these same West Albany Bulldogs Wednesday at their place weather permitting as West looks to take one back on home turf.
First pitch for that game is at 5pm.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald