By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–SALEM, Ore.– Taking it one inning at a time.
That was the philosophy that Withnell Dodger Head Coach Jason Searle and company told their team for Saturday’s games under the hot sun above.
They jumped ontop of Moundtime 14-4 to start the day before a lengthy break before playing again at 5pm and jumping out to a 1-0 lead on Lower Columbia, a lead they had entering the bottom of the third inning.
“I mean it was tough for all of us, after that first game we were all kind of drowsy, some of the guys feel asleep up in the booth doing their job,” laughed Justin Culpepper after going 4-4 with a RBI in Game 1 on the day as a whole. “But we came out, found a switch and we came out here and did our job and do what we had to do.”
Cameron Kallhoff challenged LC’s hitters striking out four in four-and-two-third innings.
However, Lower Columbia found a rhythm offensively to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning with the sun slowly setting, taking some of the heat off the air a bit.
One inning at a time.
That’s exactly what happen to change this game around for the Dodgers,
Two runs offensively in the Top of the fourth, Withnell hangs a ‘0’ in the bottom half. Both sides traded ‘goose-eggs’ and a run apiece over the next two innings.
The Dodgers were hanging in with the LC, buying their time. Inning-by-inning, pitch-by-pitch, they remember what they coach told them.
“I think mainly it was about not letting the sun not bother us, but it was also our game-plan, which our coach said, ‘taking one inning at a time'” said Hunter BeDoya, who went 1-4 with 2 RBIs in the second game. “And so that just helped us through the double header.”
Then, the payday in the top of the seventh and down 5-4.
They tied it up at 5 with a Max Long stand-up triple, Nick Raska gives Withnell their first lead of the game since the Top of the third inning and Culpepper added a much needed insurance run as the Dodgers now led 8-5 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Now it’s one inning at a time to finish the game.
“Coach has been telling us every since two-days ago, take one inning at a time,” said Culpepper who went 2-5 with a RBI and two strikeouts pitching in Game 2. “That’s what we did and we went out and won every inning, that’s all we had to do to come out with a victory
Lower Columbia cut it to a two-run game as a stalemate ensured entering the bottom of the ninth, but there weren’t nerves, but confidence in what they can do to finish the game strong.
“It wasn’t nerve racking at all,” smiled BeDoya. “I knew that Tori was going to go up there and deal like he always does.”
And that’s what they did. Doten struck out the first batter, Noah Boatwright threw out the next batter out the first for the second out as did Gavin Fredinburg from second base to end the game for the 10-7 victory.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Dodgers however, having to play again at 9am at Willamette University against Klamath Falls.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald