ALBANY, Ore.–The game that was a must for Withnell sure brought some fireworks.
Faced with elimination, the Dodgers built a 5-1 lead entering the seventh inning thanks to two RBIs by Tori Doten, one of those RBIs off a Homerun to go along with a 115-pitch, five strikeout-performance by Cameron Jolly. Jolly was one of two Withnell players playing in their final game in the Red due to the age-limit
“This team is great, it’s like a family so it’s tough to go,” said the Jolly Green Giant. “It was a pretty good game to go out on. Pretty good game.”
But, Mid-Valley, like they did the night before, made a late-game run and took the lead at 9-6 entering the bottom of the ninth.
Though their confidence was affected slightly by the run, the Dodgers weren’t going into the night quietly.
A Justin Culpepper single, a Nick Orlandini walk set up a Will DeLoretto double that was followed by a Hunter BeDoya sacrifice Hit to get it to one with two outs.
Down to his final at-bat of his career and faced with retirement, the other Withnell Dodger playing his last game ever due to the age limit in Noah Boatwright, took full advantage of the AB by hitting in the tying run that would force extras with the score at 9.
That hit, your routine single that you practice everyday, summed up what Boatwright tried to bring to the table this summer by leading by example as the 19-year-old tied his year of coaching into his physical play in 2017.
“Just never give up, that’s what I preached all season is that no matter what the score is or what the situation was, don’t give up,” said Boatwright who too had a triple in the game as well. “That’s what I’ve been preaching to the young kids all year.
“When I got into the box, I just felt like I was going to get a hit and then the ball came down the middle and I hit up the middle…I didn’t think there was anyway i would get out right there.”
Cameron Kallhoff, coming for relief and was suppose to be Game 3’s starter, came in during the eighth into hostile environment to give his team a chance to force a third game.
The soon-to-be-junior gave up two walks but got two crucial strikeouts to set up an opportunity for extras as his defense settled in after giving up five runs in before the final out of the eighth-inning.
Kallhoff and DeLoretto had crucial outs in the tenth, but the Southpaws scored five runs to keep ahead of Withnell for the series sweep.
Though the pain, the kids won’t forget the experiences of playing for the Dodgers.
“Definitely just traveling,” said Culpepper. “I mean we have had so many memories traveling and spend the night in Grants Pass and the Boise trip. It’s something I’m not going to forget.”
Chance Bacheller known for his mustache this summer, will remember that one time photoshopping Tanner Sorensen’s face onto a picture during the Grants Pass trip.
“We were making edits to pictures and Hunter (BeDoya) sent a picture of Tanner on a thumb of SpyKids and Cole (Herschbach) laughed so hard he threw up,” laughed Bacheller.
As for the fame mustache, he’s going to cut it for Senior Pictures, but there maybe a picture with it.
“Oh I have to shave it now, Senior Pictures are coming up so I got to look presentable,” smiled Bacheller. “Maybe for one but than shave it right after that.”
You know the nickname if you were around the team this year.
As for the experience and carrying it over to Chemeketa if your Culpepper or back to Sprague like with Bacheller, the summer season really helped out.
“Playing here for three years, I’ve learned a lot mroe,” said the man known as CPep. “I mean my first year, I rode the pine a lot so I mean, that’s where I learned a lot. I mean these coaches have done a great job teaching us and getting us to the next level. They’ve done a great job and I think that’s what got me here now.”
“It really gives me the experience to see a lot fast pitches then what I faced this year,” adds Bacheller. “My hitting has definitely improved by a lot. I was able to go see JV who were throwing 60-miles-per-hour to guys throwing mid 80s and being able to hit off them.”
Culpepper said he’ll be back for a fourth-year next season.
And with Boatwright and Jolly, who were teary-eye they won’t be able to play again for the ‘Withnell’ name again after a few years wearing the uniform; they won’t forget their time.
Especially Boat’s final opportunity to play the game one last time after his injury last year.
“Honestly I couldn’t tell you, I have so many, I was just happy just to come out and play again,” “Because just before the season I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to play again. Just being able to put on the uniform again for me was my best part of the summer. When I got the uniform, I was back playing again.
“Man I don’t know. I got goosebumps because baseball.”
Where memories are born and made.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald
is just fun. Baseball is just fun, I’ll appreciate it forever.”