By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.- Sunday was not all-to-kind for the boys of the Post 20 Dirtbag unit as they dropped their first game of the season to Eugene 9-2 in the steady heavy drizzle and light rain that day.
But, as they opened league play against the Mid-Valley Southpaws Tuesday with the sun going down under the late afternoon clouds, their bats found a groove early against an always tough Mid-Valley team.
The Dirtbags jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning thanks to a Derrick Maiben two-run single that was followed up by a three-run home run from Jackson Holstad in the top half of the second inning to make it 5-0 Post 20. That home run was quickly matched by Anthony Zellner’s solo shot to make it 6-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning in favor of the away team.
“It’s nice because this is my fourth-year play (with the) Dirtbags and they’re always a scrappy team and they’re going to score runs late,” starts Zellner on Mid-Valley. “They got runners on and getting ahead earlier in the game and getting good passes off a good pitcher who’s been in the area for a long time, a good arm. It’s nice to do that ad play comfortable and give your starting guy a lead to pitch with and be comfortable up there.”
The pitcher Zellner mentioned was West Albany-grad Jacob Miller who went 2-1 with one save for Feather River College this past spring in California with 27 strikeouts in almost 32 innings pitching.
The Dirtbags starting pitcher, Stew the Dude Jaret Stewart, was coming off a good senior season with the Dragons of Dallas as Stewart allowed just one hit in three innings himself as his offense gave him a cushion to work with entering the bottom half of the fourth inning.
And they would need that breathing room however because the Southpaws began to chip away at the lead starting in the bottom half of the fourth inning with a two-run home run to cut it to 6-2 by innings end.
Post 20 answered back with three runs in the top half of the fifth inning with their defense backing up Stewart as the Dallas-grad pitched six innings with four strikeouts before Braden Allison came in during the seventh inning to close out a tough 9-4 win with Games 2 and 3 at Western Oregon University Wednesday starting at 4pm.
For their defense, they couldn’t ask for anything more than to limit a good offense to four runs on six hits as they look to do the same Wednesday at home.
“I mean this team plays really clean defense and like we can always improve,” said Eric Kessler. “So a little bit more talk, moving a little bit quicker because late in games you can get a little lazy and not be as active. Like if we stay active the whole game and go hard all seven or nine innings, that’s the only thing we can do differently, this team plays hard and do the little things right so it was huge to get a Game 1 like this and going down to get Game 2.”
Blake Arritola, Maiben and Zellner all led the offensive charge with two hits each with Holstad recording a team-high three RBIs with six Dirtbag batters recording at least an RBI in the game.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald