SALEM, Ore.– What a way to end the Willamette Classic than to have two Salem teams, from the same league even, duke it out for the title.
For both teams, to take part of this local tournament was something cool as both hosted games at their respective home locations.
“It was sweet,” said DeMarini Post 20’s Brody Wittman, who’s Dirtbag team played all of their games at the Western Oregon University-location in Monmouth. “It was nice because we got a lot of our local fans and our families coming to watch, so it was cool.”
The Dirtbags got to the Title game at Willamette University by defeating the Grants Pass Nuggets 5-2 in the semi-final round Sunday morning, the Dodgers, had to battle for a 5-4 win over Vancouver Sunday morning as well.
The game itself looked as if Withnell would run away with it with five runs in the bottom of the second inning to open a 6-1 lead, but Post 20 rallied to take a one run lead entering the bottom of the fourth inning 7-6.
“Well it was good, we competed well, that’s the kind of team we are, we like to staying with it, staying even-keeled, managing to get runs, playing team baseball,” said Wittman, who went 1-2 with a RBI and two intentional walks Sunday. “Just getting the bunt down, hitting them in, sac-flies, just all that good stuff.
“We competed well, if we just minmize the mistakes, minmize the errors. Don’t walk guys, that kind of stuff and those are things very easy things for us to fix. We’re a good ballclub, their a good ballclub over there, just hats off to them.”
Delorreto grounded into a double play that got in a run to tie it at 7 before Anthony Zellher gets the last out to end the inning with the Dodgers turning a 1,2,3 inning entering the bottom of the fifth inning.
With two outs in that frame in the fifth-inning. Justin Culpepper sends a chipper down the third base line to bring Tori Doten home and Max Long squeaks by the catcher to bring home two to give Withnell a 9-7 lead entering the sixth.
The hit resembled that of a slap-bunt from softball, as Culpepper out-beat the throw at first only to turn around to see Long barely beat the throw from first-to-home,
“Once I hit it I was like, ‘I’m just going to run a good 90 (feet)’ and that’s what I did and when you put the ball into play, good things happen you know, that worked really well for us in the Baseball Gods were with us right there,” smiled Culpepper.
“I turn around and at first I was like, ‘Max what are you doing?’, like freaking out, but then I saw a pretty good slide for him, a decent throw from first basemen and I was just excited about that,” adds Culpepper on the Long score.
Both sides traded runs entering the seventh with tenses high entering the top of the seventh as Noah Boatwright got the first out in shallow left-field from Logan Johnson’s at-bat that gave the Boys of DeMarini Post 20 two final outs to work with down two runs.
Delorreto, who settled in after that second three-run inning by the Dirtbags, but the nerves of the situation was there during that last inning.
“It’s always nerve racking, once again Championship, coming in the last couple innings, butterflies always but I just got to narrow it down and it’s basically it,” said Delorreto on the game.
He trusted that defense behind him as Jake Davidson gets the second out and Boatwright gets the final for the 10-8 win for the Dodgers.
And though it is cool to go undefeated in the tournament you co-host and won over your rival, from the other side, there is revenge awaiting in what is to be just as a competitive three-game series here soon enough.
“Oh so fun, especially going undefeated in your own tournament,”said Delorreto. “Winning our own tournament at our own stadium, it’s just the best, especially against our league rivals so, it felt great.”
“Oh we’re excited, it’ll be good, it’ll be a good series, a tough series just like this game, we’ll be excited, it’ll be nice to throw our better pitching at them too as them throwing their better pitching at us,” said Wittman on what’s to come in the future. “It’ll be a good three-game series and hopefully we can get a lot of people out here to watch it.”
The next time these two teams will meet up will be July 16 at Western Oregon University (5pm) and a Doubleheader July 17 at Willamette University (first-game at 2pm).