By Jeremy McDonald
WEST LINN, Ore.– If Monday’s loss to the Withnell Dodgers served anything it was surely an eye-opening game in part of what is going to be-, and hopefully a very successful season for the Men of North Willamette Valley Baseball.
Entering Tuesday’s League-Opener versus West Linn at West Linn, it came to no surprise the fire, that desire and that confidence to redeem themselves came to light after how Monday ended for the Green Machine.
“After yesterday, Tuck said a few words about how hard we need to work this summer and all the talent we have, to be honest with you we shouldn’t lose a game this summer at all,” said Nic Iliyn. “So today, starting off and go from there.”28
Remembering what their coach said after Monday’s game, NWV came out focused and on-top of their game from the opening pitch with smart plate performances, drawing seven walks in the top half of the first inning before Noah Vachter notched the first hit of the game on a three-run double to make it 7-0 with Andy Schmitz coming back to the plate.
Schmitz added a eight run with a RBI single as North Willamette Valley set the tone early with a 9-0 lead, you could sense the energy coming from NWV as they went out to play some defense behind Grant Henry.
“We just had more energy than we did yesterday, (we) brought more,” said Vachter, the junior had a team-high four RBIs in the 14-3 win Tuesday. “When the guy first came up, he wasn’t really throwing strikes, kind of hard to get into a rhythm. But when the other guy came in and pumping the zone, we were just able to settle down and just hit great. Putting great swings on the ball, just energy.”
Though Henry struck out three, the defense behind him too settle in as well as they got used to the turf field under their feet and holding West Linn to three runs on six hits.
“Defense, stayed focused in the game, Grant pumping the strike-zone, letting the guys hit the ball. Kept us awake, everyone was talking out there, makes it easier to make plays,” said Vachter on the defense.
This energy, this feeling, this momentum; North Willamette Valley saw what they are capable of doing after Tuesday’s mammoth win. But, they have to sustain this moving forward, which is no doubting that they will as they host West Linn Thursday in Aurora before hosting the Triple-A Dirtbags Monday evening; and building Tuesday’s momentum will be important, not just for those two-games, but for the season ahead.
“Same thing, just talking and energy all the way up no matter if we’re losing or we’re winning,” said Iliyn. “Just doesn’t matter, we keeping going and going hard. Play our hardest.”
First-pitch from Thursday’s game is at 6pm at North Marion High School.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald