By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– It was as good as it could get for the Post 20 Dirtbags Friday when they took on Roseburg for Day 3 of the Willamette Classic in their pool at Western Oregon University.
Despite allowing one run early, Derek Maiben was dominant on the bump before handing the reigns to Anthony Zellner late in the sixth inning.
The offense saw an unique call of a steal at home by Peter Mendazona to tie the game at one after the Highway Robbery-esc play early in the game, but it wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth when their bats started to go-off like they did the day before.
Kaden Reidhead laid down a back-spinning bunt to load up the bases and Treve Earhart’s smart at-bat that followed allowed Post 20 to take a 2-1 lead. But it was Eric Kessler’s and Blake Arritola’s ground-balls that brought in two more runs to give the Dirtbags a little bit more of a cushion going back onto defense in the fifth inning.
“Coming to the park with a better approach from yesterday so I felt like guys had better approaches. We had big innings when we had guys in scoring position, push guys across,” said Arritola on the offense as they went back to work for the fifth.
Defense continued to roll with a double play and key stops to keep the Doc Stewarts off the board the best they can by only allowing one more run in the remainder of the game after the second inning score that was the first score of the game.
The bats continued to roll with Arritola’s RBI triple to start a six-run sixth inning to all but seal the 10-2 win over Roseburg to improve to 3-0 in the Willamette Classic Pool Play action with Maiben starting the mojo defensively on the mound with Zellner and Logan Graber finishing up the job after him.
“It’s pretty cool, I mean we’ve seen it before (Maiben) pitched in our last tournament and he had a no-hitter,” said Arritola. “I kind of know he can do it and he came out and had another good performance.”
“I think the best way to put it is just the proper way of playing every single game,” adds Kessler. “I mean that’s how we’re suppose to be,” “We’re suppose to have the gloves out on defense, suppose to swing the bats, suppose to have defense all-around, defense is chattering. I mean that’s just a good game, there’s no such thing as perfection, so we can’t get close to that but was just a great game right there, we just got to keep doing that.”
But this weekend will give Post 20 a new challenge:
Facing adversity without some of their top players like Earhart, Arritola, Derek Maiben and Jaret Stewart who will be playing in the Oregon All-Star Series in Corvallis this weekend.
Although it will be tough, facing that challenge will help them down the road if the unthinkable happens and someone needs to step up big for the Dirtbags.
“It’s honestly going to make sure everyone’s involved because if some of our big guys aren’t here and they can’t play for us and it’ll make some of the guys on the team who’ve been on the bench step up,” said Kessler. “And if we will know they can play because they’ve had the experience, it makes everyone on the bench a valuable player and it makes us a very dangerous team.”
Post 20 will be playing in a double-header Saturday with Skagit (noon) and South County (6pm) to close out pool play before possibly entering bracket play Sunday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald