By Jeremy McDonald
BOISE, Idaho.– Noah Boatwright has been known to be a vocal leader on and off the diamond this summer as a leader of the Withnell Dodgers.
Well. Thursday’s second game in Boise showed more than that for the 2016 North Salem Graduate following his single on his 5-for-5 day, Boatwright took second base safely only to find himself on his back in pain.
The dislocated shoulder he suffered last July re-occurred, leaving the 19-year-old on the Centennial High School baseball field in pain with his team in a 8-all tie with the Cannons with a out on the board.
“I was like, ‘ah not again, but back to business. We got to score a run’,” said Boatwright. “That was what I was thinking honestly. I knew it hurt like hell, but I knew I had about 20 minutes before it stiffened up, so let’s get the show on the road.”
Boatwright knew it hurt like the dickens, but as his Coach pulled him up and those around him came around; a Centennial player, and those around Boatwright, had the honor to help pop the shoulder back into place.
With Justin Culpepper coming to the plate, it was important to if not score Boatwright, advance him to third for Nick Raska behind him.
“I mean I was with ‘Boat the whole time about getting the guys pumped up, I mean I knew exactly why he was doing it,” “I’m not much of a out-loud leader, I just do it on the field and that’s what I did and help him out after he dislocated his shoulder over at second and stole third.
“I mean he helped me out with the ground-ball. I mean we just had to come together.”
With their 5-0 lead turning into the situation they were in as Boatwright slide feet-first into third base and Culpepper and Raska loading up the bases, a game like this, with all the adversity of the errors, the rally and now Boatwright’s shoulder, they need to come together.
Whether it was the Boatwright magic working once more, this time as a physical leader instead of a vocal leader, it paid off with Max Long ground into a Fielders Choice at second base that scored Boatwright from third-base to give the Dodgers a 9-8 lead entering the Bottom of the Seventh.
“I got to practice what I preached right?,” smiled Boatwright on keeping on playing and grinding through the pain. “I dislocated it, I got up and the first thing I thought, ‘what are these guys need right now and that’s a run…because we have not scored a run since that huge inning, our momentum had slowed tremendously and I knew I could be the guy that start it.
“If I came out with a dislocated shoulder, and we put someone else on second base, maybe we won’t score there.”
With some momentum Long came in for relief and got two quick outs before forcing a ground-out to end the game.
“I knew that even though our defense made some physical mistakes, I knew I had a good defense behind me and I just went in there and threw strikes,” said Long on the bottom of the seventh. “I was kind of nervous but not too nervous.”
With another hot day in Boise on tap and Withnell having a game at 11:45am against Boise, Long said that they already set their hotel room’s to 60 degrees ahead of time Thursday Night,
“It was a big learning game for us so, we came out scored five in the first and we kind of died down and let them come back in,” “So once we get five-on them, we just got to keep going. I mean that’s our big deal, we got to keep the metal to the pedal.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald