By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Some would say this is why you keep fighting until the final out no matter how much your down. Not to throw in the towel early in a game and call it a day because anything is possible.
With the daytime heat pushing July-like, the Withnell Dodgers found themselves down 6-1 entering the third inning with one of their starting arm in Cameron Kallhoff knocked out of the game and reliever Gavin Fredinburg coming in for relief against one of the best hitting team’s in the league in the Gerding Builders Mintuemen.
For Fredinburg, he’s came into tough situations like this before in his career and has proved that he can succeed in those situations leading up to his second inning appearance as he got the last out of the inning with him and his squad down five runs after a inning and a half.
“I’ve came into situations like that before and the only thing you really can do is just throw strikes and get guys out and count on your teammates to hit the ball and my teammates were able to do that today,” said Fredinburg.
Fredinburg and his defense turned a 1, 2, 3 inning that featured a ground-out, strikeout and fly-out as Max Long, who hit a Home Run in the first game of the doubleheader, hit a sacrifice ball to get the Dodgers on the board with the game at 6-2.
The lone run surrendered by Fredinburg came in the top half of the fourth inning off a single before Fredinburg struck out three of the next four batters to end the inning.
“Coach Godfrey called his ‘Mr. Strike-Thrower’, that’s all I could do is throw strikes and good things happen,” said Fredinburg as he tallied eighth strikeouts in the game in relief.
Slowly, the bats that were so dormiant the three games prior to Tuesday’s double-header, woke up.
After scoring seven runs in the first game of the series, the bats produced three runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning as Tori Doten (RBI Single), Justin Culpepper (RBI Double) and Reyes Luna (RBI Single) got Withnell back into contention for a win with the score now at 7-5 entering the sixth inning.
“It’s definitely something we’ve worked on these past couple of days you know, get some good tee-work in and all that good stuff in,” said Luna who brought in three RBIs in the second game of the doubleheader. “Preparing us for clutch situations like this, so the work we do prepares us for moments like this.”
Corvallis held the Dodgers to a goose-egg in the bottom of the sixth, but Withnell answered back by holding the Minutemen to zero runs in the sixth and seventh innings to give the Dodgers one last chance to win this game or force extras.
Tori Doten grounded out to start the inning before Long doubled, Culpepper walked to set up Luna’s bases clearing double to tie the game up at seven with one out.
“I knew I had to stay relax, get my hands back and wait for my pitch. It was right down the middle, so I took a good swing at it,” smiled Luna.
Tanner Sorensen was walked to bring Kaiden Doten to plate. Like Fredinburg, Doten has already showcased some of that clutch factor with a game-winner last week against the Keizer Crushers with Luna and Sorensen on first and second base
A pass-ball moved Luna and Sorensen to second and third, and with one out on the board, Corvallis moved up slightly thinking bunt only to have Doten send a blooper over their shortstops head to complete the seven-run comeback to avoid the sweep and snap a four-game losing skid
“I got put into a really good situation. Catcher missed a really good block and got guys on second and third, and all I was thinking was, ‘All I got to do is put it on the ground and find a spot’ or just an error. I was able to put it on the ground even though it wasn’t a very hard hit ball,” “But since it got past, I think that was great. It was good.
“It shows a lot of heart. We have a lot of heart on this team and when we choose to show some pace and rhythm, we can comeback from anything and put some lopsided numbers up even when the other team does. We don’t get discouraged very easily when we don’t choose to get discouraged.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald