By Jeremy McDOnald
AURORA, Ore.– As the buzz of the lights faintly was heard over the noises of coaches and players talking, North Willamette Valley put the finishing touches on a 15-1 victory over Aloha on a relatively cool Wednesday evening at Bob Brack Stadium.
With Griffin Henry on the bump to start as North Willamette Valley look to redeem themselves after their tough 12-11 loss to the Warriors of Aloha eight days ago, the soon-to-be-senior Huskie pitcher held the Warriors to no hits until the third inning when Aloha got two quick hits on the home pitcher.
But a pick-off move from twin brother and catcher Grant Henry made a pick-off move to a familiar face moving over to second from shortstop with two outs on the board for the final out on the board ended the threat of the Warriors scoring entering the bottom of the third inning.
“Oh it’s fun, I always like playing with the guys so it never gets out,” said Andy Schmitz, who joined the Triple-A American Legion team for a game while in the area on a brief break from baseball activities up in Washington. “We played really good on defense, there’s nothing more that we could have done. We made plays that we should have and we played well.”
The defense, starting with Griffin Henry (three innings with four strikeouts) and Calvin Sahlin (two innings with two strikeouts) on the hill, held Aloha to just three hits during the five-inning game while their offense produced. In the first inning alone, they went about 12 batters deep in the inning and produced seven runs on three hits to set the pace for a 15 run, nine-hit performance in Wednesday night’s game.
“It was good, we just needed to hit and it’s pretty nice because we’ve been struggling with that early. We’ve been waiting too long and needed a good start on that,” said Ryan Olson, who went 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs in the game, on the bats.
With their series with the Columbia Gorge squad behind pushed back to Sunday as a doubleheader, it’s going to give North Willamette Valley sometime to recover and heal up as they prepare for two more tough league games with them sitting at 3-3 in league and 4-5 overall versus the Hustlers.
“Just don’t do too much,” said Olson leading into Sunday’s doubleheader. “Come out for 30 minutes, an hour each day. Keep our arms loose, don’t tighten up and be prepared for two games.”
Schmitz went 3-3 with two RBIs as the lone other NWV batter to record multiple hits in the game. Issac Hansen and Jesse Agnew joins Olson as North Willamette Valley batters to have drove in three RBIs each in the win.
The first pitch is at 2pm at Bob Brack Stadium Sunday with Game two of the doubleheader to follow afterwards.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald