By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The Justin Hoffman-era officially kicked off with a bang Sunday afternoon at Willamette University against the Alpenrose Dairy Red Soxs in Withnell’s doubleheader to start the 2018 Regular Season.
In their first game against Alpenrose, the Dodgers charged out front with their bats as the offense exploded for 16 runs to start the season. Defensively in the game, South Salem’s Gavin Fredinburg and Noah Ferguson combined for a no-hitter as the defense continued into the second game when Blanchet Catholic’s Jacob Winstead took to the bump.
The Cavalier sophomore kept the ball in the strike-zone as Winstead struck out seven batters in five innings, but the sophomore showed some frustration as he worked through the adversity that the Red Soxs were throwing his way as him and his squad started the second game.
“My dad use the saying, ‘clear the mechanism’, you got to clear it and move on. There’s nothing you can do about the last play, getting mad about it won’t help anything,” said Winstead. “I love pitching, no matter how long I’m pitching really. Fatigue is just part of the game and I just work through it. Pounding the strike-zone is always something I’ve been good at and I just try to capitalize on it.”
The defense behind him helped him whenever the ball was in motion with Ferguson and Sprague’s Will DeLoretto playing to the ball in helping their pitcher out to entering the sixth inning of the game as they get a taste of a double-header to start the season.
“Defensively it was a good transition, we came out a little flat in the second game and it showed, we only got two hits,” said Ferguson. “But staying up in the dugout through the 18 innings or whatever it’s going to be once we’re going to start league, it’s going to be crucial to not come out flat in that second game and come out and put up runs like we did in the first game.”
Though they got two hits on the board during the second game, Withnell took advantage of miscue from Alpenrose with free bases and smart base running as two sacrifice flies and a sacrifice hit resulted in three runs through the barrel of the bat. Two error scores and a pass ball resulted in the Dodgers three of Withnell’s six runs in the second game.
“They were really crucial because at the beginning of the game we were just trying to come out here hitting the ball but we realize that we couldn’t put the ball on the bat really well. So we found a way on, get a walk or two and just trying to find a way to get the guy in,” said Davidson, who’s sac-fly in the second inning gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead over the Red Soxs. “Whether it’s a bunt, a sac-fly or whatever it is. So it was really crucial.”
Withnell will have two day’s off before hosting Beaverton Wednesday evening at 6pm at Willamette University. And as they wrap up just the first of a good amount of double-headers this season, Davidson said that Sunday was not just a good refresher for the returners to the team, but for the newbies to the squad this season.
“I think it was a really good learning experience, especially for the new guys who may have not played as many double-headers, they just got a taste of what it will be like for the whole season,” said Davidson. “So it’s a good learning experience for everybody.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald