By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– It was one of the first hot days of the season for the Keizer Crushers as they opened up their second league series with the Mid-Valley Southpaws Monday afternoon at McNary High School.
With the temperatures in the 80s, Austin Brown was finding ways to keep the Southpaws off the scoreboard with four of his five strikeouts within the first three innings of the seven-inning contest with Keizer up 1-0 entering the fourth inning as the run scored off Ty Covalt’s first at-bat of the game in the first through a throwing error.
But, a slight lost of focus in the fourth inning allowed Mid-Valley to take advantage of two walks and a bases clearing triple to take a 3-1 lead entering the bottom half of the fourth inning.
“I think we lost a little focus, we got a little hot and just put on Cruise Control and we should have kept the intensity going, but I’m not worried for tomorrow. It’s a new day, we’ll forget about it, we just got to keep our focus and our energy going,” said Covalt.
Brown and the Crusher defense answered back with a strong fifth inning that saw Brown striking out Southpaw starting pitcher Taylor Holder on a high-ball chaser for strike three to end the inning, but the bats of Keizer struggled to find a groove against Holder when they had their turn to bat with just two hits all game.
And with the double-header Tuesday at West Albany High School, to combat this starts with their approach at the plate.
“We got to have a better approach at the plate, we didn’t hit well at all,” said Justin Herberger, who was playing in his first game since coming back from Team Football Camp with St. Paul all of last week. “I mean that’s not even us tonight, we normally hit the ball pretty well. But yeah, we got to come out tomorrow against these guys and just swing away. We didn’t get a lot of runners on base and when we did, we didn’t have timely hitting and score them.”
Mid-Valley would pull away for good in the sixth by pushing their already two-run lead to nine-runs with a seven-run inning as they took advantage of walks and timely hitting against Brown and Robert Benson to take a 10-2 lead into the seventh as the Southpaws finished off the 11-2 win Monday as Brown, Benson and the pitching staff allowed seven hits against a good hitting Mid-Valley squad.
“I thought they battled. Austin looked pretty good, that was one of his best outings those first few innings and then baseball happened,” starts Covalt. “Robert did well with the pitching experience he has, I thought he battled up there.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald