By Jeremy McDonald
OREGON CITY, Ore.– Entering the seventh inning of their game versus Oregon City, West Salem found themselves up 4-1 thanks to several clutch hits by Blake Aritolla and the Titan offense to get on the board that was sparked by the clutch performance by Logan Johnson and company on defense.
“Pitching with that good of a defense definitely gives me confidence, so that helps a lot,” said Johnson who threw a complete game, eight strikeout performance Tuesday afternoon on the road.
Coming out for the bottom of the seventh inning was like any other inning, the Titans were looking to close out the victory over the Pioneers with their Arizona trip here in a few days during Spring Break; but it wouldn’t be without some adversity thrown their way.
Besides the challenge of closing out a team on their home turf, some more adversity came the Titans way on the first batter of the inning.
On a routine fly-ball to right field, second baseman Shaun Dhote was drifting back playing the ball as right-fielder Cameron Hagen did the same storming in from his position.
The sound of when the five-seven Dhote and the six-four Hagen collided sounded like a vehicle crashing into the fence surrounding the field as both athletes went to the ground. Hagen got up first with Dhote doing the same moments later as their teammates stood a few feet away from them with obvious concerned looks on their faces as the ambulance was called for them.
“First thing, I just wanted to make sure they were ok and seeing them out cold, that was definitely scary because those were guys out there grinding doing our thing and those are my brothers,” starts Johnson. “I mean it is definitely scary seeing them go down like that so I’m hoping they’re good right now. Look like toughing it out and stuff so I’m hoping they’re good tomorrow and the next day.”
Dhote walked to the ambulance while Hagen was carted off on a stretcher as cheers and claps echoed around the field with both teams warming back up for the last part of the game.
Kaden Reidhead re-entered the game at Right Field and Ethan Johnson entered the game at second base as West Salem were looking to finish off the win for their brothers.
“It was kind of tough, we really care about each other so but you got to come and do your job,” said Ethan Johnson on coming back out for those last three outs.
“I just knew we had to shut the door, we were up by a few so I knew we had a good defense behind us so I got to keep feeding them and I wasn’t worried about that,” adds Logan Johnson.
They did just that. They came out and did their job and got the job done.
Jaden Perez caught a deep fly-out out in center field for the first out that was followed by a ground-out for the second out of the inning as Oregon City cut the score to 4-2 with the runner who was given second base on the Dhote-Hagen play, scored on the two-out ground-out.
On the next batter though, a ground-ball was fielded and thrown to first from third to end the game with the score of 4-2 reading on the scoreboard in favor of the Titans.
“It just shows that we just got to come and do our job and get stuff done and just play for each other. It’s just what it takes,” said Ethan Johnson on getting the job done.
With one game scheduled before their trip to Arizona to take part in the Pride Classic with a home game versus Newberg, this game just serves as a continuous foundation that they can just build from moving forward.
“We’re just going to build on-top (of this),” said Logan Johnson. “Keep going, keep building up and just keeping this throughout the season.”