By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore– Much like how they started April, South Salem started May with a ‘W’ next to the first day of the month.
To get to 7-2 in Greater Valley Conference and 9-5 overall, the Saxons had to hold off a late game rally by West Salem who got the game to within two before South closed out the contest.
Ryan Brown started for the Saxons as the sophomore brought some heat versus the Titans, striking out four in four-in-a-third innings as South Salem built a 6-0 lead on the road.
But through his performance on the mound, great defense that featured plays from Tori Doten and Sean Alvarado, Brown admits that the Saxons bats could’ve been sparked sooner rather than in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
“I thought I did pretty good, batting wise we did pretty good except in the first two innings, we didn’t come out like what we really wanted to to play,” said Brown. “But we came out talking on defense, Tori had some amazing plays to back me up.
“It was a good game, but we had a lot of hits we couldn’t do anything about. They put little bloopers out there.”
What happened in the fifth inning going off what Brown was saying about the hits defensively, West Salem’s bats came around and cut the 6-0 lead to 6-4 by innings end as Elijah Enomoto-Haole came in for relief for Brown midway through the fifth and helped end the inning strong as the sophomore added three more strikeouts in two innings of relief pitching.
“It was pretty intense,” described Enomoto-Haole walking into his save opportunity. “Because I get a little loose with my fastball, which I have to learn to control, but overall it was pretty intense coming in. But I live for the big moments.
And he sure did as he struck out the first two batters of the seventh inning and forced a groundout to Kaiden Doten to end the ballgame to ensure the 7-4 win.
That seventh run that the South Salem Sluggers got came from their catcher Aaron Zavala that added a little more breathing room for the Saxons as they embark on their Marathon journey ahead this week once more.
“There was a small turn of momentum obviously but I thought our guys bounced back well and that showed in the last inning where we put up some runs, get some insurance runs,” said Zavala who went 2-for-4 on the game. “It’s huge for our team, a lot of guys will be ready to go tomorrow and next day and we need it in this marathon week.”
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