By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Post 20’s aspirations to win the League Title sat in front of them entering the regular season finale versus heated rival Withnell Sunday and Monday.
After squeaking by Sunday with a 4-3 victory, the Dirtbags pulled away late in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader to clinch the series win in the 9-3 victory over the Dodgers Monday afternoon.
Despite giving up six hits and five walks, Central’s Peter Mendazona allowed his defense to keep Withnell off the board in the seven innings he pitched during the first game of the day.
“It’s good, I’ve had a lot of confidence coming into the game,” said Mendazona. “I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was able to put my team into the best possible position and just allow two runs in the first inning. I did my best, allowed (Anthony) Zellner to come in and finish the game up.”
In Game two of the doubleheader, the final game of the series and the regular season for both teams, it’ll look like Post 20 were finding a way to pull out another win when Brody Wittman hit a double the brought Zellner home for the go-ahead run in the top half of the fifth.
Entering that bottom half of the frame however, down 3-2 following their rival hanging a crooked ‘2’ on the board; the Dodgers too hung a crooked number against their rival.
It wasn’t two, or three or four, but nine runs in the inning that put Withnell up 11-3 and twisted the momentum back into their favor entering the sixth.
“Our biggest thing was that we wanted to win this third game four ourselves because we want to get some momentum going into the playoffs and that nine-run inning just proves that even though we were losing going into that inning, we can score as many runs as we want to, we just got to have quality At-Bats and it was good for us,” said the Dodgers Nick Orlandini.
Both sides traded runs, but Post 20 couldn’t complete the sweep as both teams enter the playoffs this weekend. Good news for the Dirtbags though is that they go back over the Marion Bridge with the Title in hand, something that has never been done as ‘Post 20’.
“It’s awesome winning league because it’s the first-time the Dirtbags have won league since we’ve been a team since before they were ‘Post 9’,” starts Wittman on winning league.
“Oh it’s great, I’ve been on the Dirtbags for three-years and it’s the first-year that the Post 20 Dirtbags won league I believe, so we’re all pumped about it,” adds Mendazona. “It’s a cool thing.”
And with playoffs starting here in a few days, on Friday and Saturday, these past three-games do serve as an opportunity to see where they are at entering Regional Playoffs.
For the Dodgers, in a strange turn of events that had a team forfeit to put them into the Regionals this weekend without having to worry to play Thursday as well; but the win Monday evening helped energize the Withnell squad entering the Best-Of-3 series this weekend.
“Well obviously we won this last game and it’s just huge to leave a good taste in our mouths going into the playoffs,” said Will Tsukamaki. “I think this should show us that we can beat anyone.”
“I mean, we lost two games like we did to them, we won’t be playing,”said Max Long, who’s double in the fifth during the second game allowed Withnell to regain the lead and was the second run on the eye-opening experience this series gave to them entering the postseason.. “So jump out earlier, and just keep on them and just focus up better,”
Though the loss snapped their winning ways, the loss to the Dodgers serves as a refreshing look for Post 20 as they too prepare to host games at home this weekend.
“We just got to keep out energy going, in a game we’re playing later this week, maybe a like a practice game, we got to keep our energy up, keep being friends, keep having fun, go hang out,” said Mendazona. “I mean that is where this is from, have fun and play well.”
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald