By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–The bats were rolling to start their game versus Vancouver Thursday evening at Willamette University as they hung a nine-spot after the first inning of the game.
In matter of fact, the Withnell bats produced 15 runs on 19 hits in the second game of the Willamette Classic after taking a 7-0 forfeiture victory from the Australia team Wednesday.
But, the Mavericks wouldn’t let the Dodgers hemi-ing their way to an easy victory, too turning to their bats scoring 14 of the game’s next 20 runs to come to within one of Withnell entering the seventh inning 15-14.
“They had pretty good sticks, they hit the ball well,” said Michael Soper, who pitched the final four innings of the game. “I just had to hit my spots and let them hit the ball and let my defense play. I think we just need to get a good night’s rest, wake up tomorrow ready to play some baseball you know? We’re usually pretty solid on defense.”
It was a good test with Post 20 Dirtbags and the Mid-Valley Southpaws who too have solid bats themselves as they start the seventh inning. Vancouver got the lead-off man on before Cole Herschbach made a circus leap for the first out and took advantage of a large lead-off from first and turned the 4-3 double play for the first two outs of the inning.
“Yeah it was just back-and-forth, it was going to be the bigger man who was going to come out on top, the one who at the end made the other person come out and make a mistake,” said Marshall Bray, who and Gavin Fredinburg both had team-high 3RBIs each. “We came out and I had that triple that didn’t work out for me, but we came back and my team picked me up and we came back and ended up sticking it out on defense.”
An error and a walk put the tying run at first base with one out on the board. And as Reyes Luna waited for the possible pick-off move, Soper receiving the signs from Brock McMullen and the defense on their toes knowing that one pitch could end the game in either team’s favor.
They’ve seen the Mavs score four on them the inning before and with how hot their bats were in this game, anything was possible. But a dribbler to Will DeLoretto at third allowed the Dodger infielder to scoop and throw out the runner at first as Luna completed the 5-3 put out to end the game.
“It was nerve-racking, very nerve-racking. Hershey (Herschbach) came up super clutch and just kind of relieved everyone, and then when we got that last out that was awesome,” starts Bray. “The whole last two innings were quite nerve-racking. It’s good momentum, having a good win under our belts. Getting back on track and going into the next game is always good having a win.”
Jake Winstead and Jake Davidson both went 2-for-4 with 2RBIs. Max Long was 3-for-5 with a RBI and a triple and Fredinburg too had three hits in the game. Tori Doten, Bray, DeLoretto and Luna all had two hits each as well with Withnell playing Olympia at 6pm at Willamette University.