By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– As they entered the Spring season, the boys of North Marion knew what they were capable of after seeing what this group was able to do over the summer time as part of the North Willamette Valley American Legion team that went to the regional round this past August.
Entering their fourth game in six days and winning their first three games by a combined 12 runs offensively to allowing four defensively, it seemed as if there is no disconnect from the summer to now as they picked up where they left at over the summer.
“It’s exactly what we wanted to do, we knew what we can do this league season…we found out last summer and we wanted to carry that momentum to now and keep going and not stop until it’s over,” said Sergio Jimenez.
“I just know we’re really confident in every player that Coach puts out there so we’re good, we’re going to be good in the future too,” adds Griffin Henry.
Griffin Henry got the nod on the bump for their game against Estacada and the defense behind him with the infield with guys like Jimenez and Andy Schmitz fielded the grounders to them while the outfield with Nic Iliyn leading the way with a few plays out at center against the Rangers and holding them to six shutout innings entering the seventh inning.
“It was great you know to get four games in and it was great,” starts Iliyn. “Our defense played well. Good week to get the nerves out and we’re ready for next week and come out stomping”
Henry had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning before it was broken up, Jimenez had a nice force out at second late in the game as Jimenez was apart of a double-play in the sixth inning as he flicked it to Andy Schmitz for the tag at second and Schmitz threw to Ryan Olson at first to complete the 4-6-3 double play.
“Our defense probably played the best game of the week,” said Jimenez on the defense. “We were practicing every single day with our defense. Our defense is more serious, our infield especially. Ty (Brack) makes us work really hard to keep our fundamentals like today, double-plays and just playing catch. We’ve been practicing all week that it’s easy now.”
Offensively Saturday afternoon, it took some time for the offense to get some hits strung together to get on the board; but when they did, they hung back-to-back crooked numbers on Estacada starting in the fifth.
Starting with Noah Vachter in both innings getting on base, the Huskies brought home five total runs from a walk, a sacrifice fly turned error and a Brady Hansen single to make it 5-0 after five before bringing in three more in the bottom of the sixth to make it 8-0 in favor of North Marion entering the top-half of the seventh inning.
“We just had to see the pitcher a couple of innings through and we found what he had,” “He was a thrower and not much of a pitcher because he just threw a lot of fast balls so we just had to get our timing down and we were good,” said Griffin Henry who brought home three runners in the 8-1 victory.
As they enter Week Two of the season, they’ll be challenged once more with the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season in Banks (Tuesday) before traveling to Klamath Falls to take on the 4A Powerhouse in Henley (Thursday) before ending the week in Grants Pass to take on Hidden Valley.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald