By Jeremy McDonald
SCIO, Ore.– Coming out for the fifth-inning up 14-0 on Scio, there was something special going on in favor of Salem Academy.
Gabe Cuanas had a no-hit, no-walk game going with two outs on the board and there were nerves there during that inning.
“I wasn’t trying to thinking about it honestly, I was trying to do anything to distract me from it,” said Cuanas who finished with 10 strikeouts on the day. “I was trying to sing a song in my head or something, but I was trying to get out there and trying to finish the game off strong and get the ‘W’.”
But, his no-walk, perfect game-isc performance was broken when he walked Ryan Imel and Seth McCelland on back-to-back at-bats.
Frustrated, freshman catcher Greyson Hanowell called time to calm him down as the freshman channeled his inner coach that he learned from his grandpa Ron Caligure in calming his pitcher down.
And it worked.
Though a wild-pitch allowed Imel to score from home, Cuanas struck out the Loggers Caleb Clevenger to seal the no–no.
“It’s not something that happens very often,” Cuanas said of the feat. “And so when it’s something your able to accomplish, it feels really great to come out against a team that I’ve played before and they’ve been great in the past and their not a ball club and to be able to do that, it feels great.”
For Clevenger, who had nine strikeouts in Tuesday’s game for Scio’s 8-5 loss to the Crusaders, he knows how much this game, this week hurts to them. But know they can improve for Blanchet next week.
“We got a lot of young guys and I thought we battled really well on Tuesday,” “That’s a really good hitting team (in SA) and tough too, they throw strikes, they make us put the ball into play.
“I thought we battled really hard on Tuesday, I thought Austin (Ellis) did a really good job on the mound today, I just thought we couldn’t get the bats going against Gabe and I don’t know, just think we need to hit better. That’s really it, we didn’t make any defensive errors, they just put the ball in play.”
There was an unique connection between a few of the Salem Academy players and Clevenger from Scio as Clevenger, the BeDoya Brothers, Jacob Haller, Hanowell and for a brief period of time, Cuanas, played on the Stayton-Based American Legion team that Santiam Senators.
Also on that staff was 2016 Gervais Cougar alum Brandon Gieselman, who was the ace of that staff with Clevenger in the rotation as the two/three pitcher with South Salem’s Ryan Brown. Haller played in the outfield and pitched occasionally and the BeDoya brothers played the infield.
Hunter BeDoya, who hit a Grand Slam in Thursday’s game and Hanowell split time catching and Hanowell, who wasn’t even in High School yet caught Gieselman and Clevenger over the summer as there was fun times this week like it was the summer all over again.
“It’s really nice to have good friendships with other players from other places,” “It makes it more fun of a game I feel and not everything is negative and it’s a lot of fun.”
For Clevenger, who struck Hanowell out twice, Hunter and Haller once apiece, knew how fun it was playing against his former summertime teammates.
“Oh it was awesome,” smiled Clevenger. “I loved it. I like playing against them, they’re compeitiors and it was fun to a play against them again. Hunter and Devon gave me a hard time, so it was fun to go back-and-forth with them.”
Hanowell was the same way as the old Pitcher-Catcher combo had a fun time together the last two games.
“Clevenger, he’s a awesome guy,” said Hanowell. “I mean, he’s pretty relaxed and when he was up at the plate, he and I had some good chats with each other. It was all fun and games, it was good to see him.”
That Santiam team went 16-10 entering the Single-A playoffs before losing in Central Point in July to Central Point (Crater) and North Marion.
But, those memories, those fun times, will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald