By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–For the first three innings of the South Salem-Sprague baseball game, it showed why it was going to be a battle for the top spots in the Greater Valley Conference this season with the Saxons Sean Alvarado and the Olympians Cody Vestal wheeling and dealing.
The lone difference entering the top of the fourth in this heated battle was a Ryan Brown two-run single to break the then 0-0 tie with a Sprague team looking to get those runs back.
“It was really big for me to go up 2-0,” said Brown. “I mean I’ll do anything for this team and I’m glad I could do it to get us up by two, but I think we should’ve had more than that and they shouldn’t have scored that much.”
The frustrations expressed by Brown was the feeling across the board for South Salem as Sprague responded back in the fourth inning, using some big hits and taking advantage of Saxon errors and miscues to turn a 2-0 lead into a 5-2 lead by the bottom of the fourth inning.
That lead increased further as Vestal, changing his pitching motion from sidearm/submarine to a more traditional over-the-head motion mid-at-bat, kept South on their toes and kept them from stringing together enough hits to cut into the lead as the Olympians walked out of Glimore Park with a 9-2 victory to improve to 14-1 and 7-1 in GVC play.
“Sprague just got some big hits at the right time and we didn’t make some plays that we needed to make, that’s kind of it,” said Saxon Head Coach Max Price on the game.
As the month approaches May and though they’ll end April on a ‘L’, it was just South’s second loss of the month as they went 8-2 on the month after going 0-3 in March; and with another series of ‘Marathon Weeks’ ahead to end the regular as everyone is going to have across the GVC due to the wet Spring, South knows that they’ll be back into the win column with this upcoming week.
And seeing Sprague celebrate their victory Thursday on their home diamond, just adds fuel to their fire and adds a little more confidence for them entering another tough week ahead. said Alvarado.
“That’s just adding fuel to the fire as our coaches like to say,” starts Alvarado, who struck out six in five innings of work. “We’re going to come out ready next week and I don’t expect us to lose.”
This upcoming Marathon Week for the Saxons with start with West Salem at West Monday at 4:30pm then a pair versus North Salem (Tuesday and Wednesday) and McNary on Friday before ending the week Saturday on the road against this same Sprague team.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald