By Jeremy McDonald
EAGLE, Idaho.– South Salem started Day two of the Buck’s Invite Tourney with a 11-1 win over Skyview High School in Nampa, Idaho to build some momentum for their game versus Eagle High School about 30 minutes northeast from their first game of the day.
In that opening game, the Saxons got the bats rolling with eight hits as Nick Raska brought in four RBIs. Defensively, Sean Alvarado had to adjust on the run as the junior struck out five batters in four innings before Noah Ferguson came in for relief for the last three innings and picking up four strikeouts himself as the defense backed them up, holding the Hawks to three hits in the game.
After their two-and-a-half hour or so game with Skyview, South Salem bolted to Eagle and Eagle High School where they had to face a Mustang team with several college-commits like University of Washington-commit in catcher Alex Guerrero.
But the bats were rolling with four hits through the first two innings, along with taking advantage of errors and stolen bases to build a 3-0 lead as their defense kept Guerrero and company at bay knowing that they have their own D-1 catcher
“We came back from the first game that we won and the momentum just carried. Kept getting hits, kept getting strikes and kept getting guys out,” said Raska who got the nod on the mound for the third-game of the Invite.
A turning point happened in the third inning where Parker Schwers hung the first zero against the South Salem offense as their top-half of the line-up with Guerrero cut it to a one-run, 3-2 lead entering the fourth inning. Coming into the dugout with their top-half coming out, they needed runs with the momentum slowly swinging towards Eagle.
“We were in the dugout and everyone got together and we said, ‘alright, it’s time to pull our heads out and go play some baseball’,” said Raska. “We started to have better approaches to the plate and we started to get momentum and capitalizing.”
Raska’s RBI single got the bats rolling again as the senior and freshman Danny Alvarado helped the Saxons build back a three-run lead that expanded to five thanks to Aaron Zavala and a Fielders Choice.
Defensively, Raska turned the side in the bottom of the fourth and a double play along with one of Raska’s five strikeouts ending a promising threat in the bottom of the fifth inning when Gavin Fredinburg took over in relief.
The Saxons couldn’t add anymore runs on the board as insurance, but Fredinburg and company held just as strong on their front entering the bottom of the seventh.
But, South weren’t out of the woods just yet as the ‘Stangs got two quick people on base with the bulk of their line-up coming up. For Fredinburg, who’s been like Mr. Clutch since getting three-straight out versus West Albany at Gilmore Park with the bases juiced and no outs on the board in a 4-3 game last season, this was nothing.
“I’ve had experiences in the past, like last year against West Albany when I went out with the bases loaded and I got the next three guys out,” said Fredinburg. “I just calmed myself and just zoned in and throw strikes. That’s all I could do.”
Fredinburg struck out Mason Leavitt, battled the future-Huskie in Guerrero to six pitches before Guerrero flied-out to Colin Vogt in Center before Fredinburg struck out Schwers to end the game for the 7-2 victory Friday night.
Entering the last day of the Invite, riding the hot-hand, South knows that tomorrow is a new day against Bishop Kelly and anything is possible so they got to prepare for what is to come Saturday morning in Nampa at Skyview High School.
“We just got to come out ready to play,” said Zavala, who went 3-for-4 with a RBI in the win over Eagle. “Just got to have short-memory on this, rolled forward and new day tomorrow.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald