By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– By game’s end, both the Keizer Crushers and the Withnell Dodgers combined for 24 hits, 16 runs and 13 strikeouts in what you could say was a ‘Hitter’s Ballgame’-almost.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun when everyone starts hitting from both team’s I guess,” said Josh Benson, who had two of the Keizer Crushers 11 hits and two of the team’s seven RBIs. “Balls flying everywhere, everyone’s jumping, it’s not just a pitcher’s shutting everyone down.”
Cameron Kallhoff added three of the Dodgers 13 hits and three of Withnell’s eight RBIs, but Kallhoff too added five of the Dodgers six strikeouts as the Crushers Riley Hays (4) and Colton Meyer (3) combined for seven strikeouts as he talked about the crazy game.
“I think it was good for us because we were hitting our spots and really trust our defense behind us,” said Kallhoff on pitching in a game like this. “Just throwing strikes and being able to throw to whichever side of the plate we need and getting outs.”
Kallhoff’s pitching helped the Dodgers build a 5-1 lead by the mid-way point of the fifth-inning, but that’s when Keizer worked their magic as they mount a comeback to take a 7-6 lead entering the seventh-inning.
Benson had two big hits in those two innings resulting in two runs coming in during the comeback rally.
“It feels good, you can tell definitely tell that everyone jumps on and everyone gets hits when they needed,” said Benson on the middle-inning success. “And we need to keep it going the whole game instead of key innings.”
But, a big incident happened in the seventh inning with the Dodgers at-bat that halted the mojo of the Crushers with a fluke injury of Brycen Schumacher. Schumacher was fielding a Tanner Sorensen grounder that popped up and hit Schumacher in the face with one out in the inning that changed the momentum of the game.
“That was brutal, it sounded bad,” said Noah Boatwright who was in the dugout when the hit happened. “I did not like to see that, but I guess it’s a part of the game. It just took a bad hop and it could happen to anybody. I hope he’s ok.”
When Schumacher was being escorted off the field and Keizer was warming back up, Boatwright brought his Withnell teammates together to regain their focus with a few words, and they capitalized on the opportunity of the Crushers still regaining their focus as they took a 9-7 lead by innings end.
Over the last two innings, both team’s clamped down defensively, preventing the other from scoring; but Benson knows that tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to get a ‘W’ as both teams play two at Willamette University at noon and 2:30pm.
“We just need to come out with focus and not be lazy at all,” said Benson. “Take good BP before the game and then come out (and) hit tomorrow like we did today because we hit the ball pretty well.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald