By Jeremy McDonald
CARSON CITY, Nev.— When Withnell last met up with Grants Pass on the road in Oregon a few weeks ago, the Nuggets showcased their dominance in the 6-2 game on June 16 in Grants Pass.
In their match-up July 2 at Carson High School in Nevada, it was the Dodgers who erupted for a six-run inning to start the game like the Nuggets did in the two-squads previous game with Cole Herschbach pitching three shutout innings to set-up his offense in the top half of the inning.
“I went out there and competed for my team. I left it all out there, I tried my hardest to get back to the dugout to get them their at-bats and score some more runs,” said Herschbach as his team handed him an 8-0 lead entering the bottom of the fourth inning.
Speaking of that fourth inning, adversity presented itself with a few controversial calls to go with the bats of Grants Pass slowly coming around as well in the inning as the Nuggets began to feed off of the fourth inning success entering the sixth.
And with their lead down to 8-3, it seemed as if the game was in the balance but the Dodgers stayed with it and kept the Nuggets at bay.
“Its baseball so stuff is going to happen and its not going to go your way and you just got to take the good with the bad and just keep pounding the zone and just trying to win the game,” said Herschbach who and his defense held Grants Pass to those three runs entering the seventh inning as the Sprague baller struck out seven in the game.
But, with their backs against the wall in the bottom of the seventh, Grants Pass quickly got the bases loaded against Herschbach and Noah Ferguson with no outs with them looking to do damage.
“Just knowing we just have to throw strikes and knowing that we have our defense being able to back us up behind us,” said Ferguson who came in with one runner on base. “Just trusting that they’ll make plays behind me, that was really helpful.”
Slowly, Withnell chipped away with outs with the defense doing what they need to do.
Jake Davidson and Michael Soper connected on a 6-4 putout for the first out though a run came in. Ferguson got a strikeout that kept the runners on the corners in place. Then, Vincet Zavolta sent a pop-up into foul territory towards Tanner Sorenson, Sorenson couldn’t see it and said that in a last second fashion and out of nowhere a slightly shorter blurr came from the mound-area to get the last out by their dugout.
It was Ferguson.
“I did hear Tanner not saying he didn’t see it so I started drifting over and then right at the last minute I heard him say he can’t see it so I knew that I had to make the play,” said Ferguson who completed the play for the win.
Ferguson continued his momentum as the soon-to-be-senior at South Salem pitched a complete game, three-hit and three-strikeout game with Ferguson being apart of six other outs that included put-outs to Kaiden Doten and a 1-4-6 double play to end the fifth in Withnell’s 8-1 win over Carson Monday.
“It was good, it shows that we’re capable of bouncing back and that we could comeback from anything,” said Doten, who caught and played first in Monday’s doubleheader on the defense settling in after how Game 1 ended.
“It was a lot better, I was thrown into a tight spot at the end of that last game and it got to me a little bit. But being able to come back and start fresh and start with a whole new team, it was a lot more comfortable,” adds Ferguson who finished with eight innings pitched, allowing four hits and striking out four strikeouts over the two games Monday.
With the Dodgers six-game winning streak since coming to Nevada, they’ll be playing in the tournament championship at 2pm Tuesday before heading back home for Thursday’s game versus Westview in Portland.
“We just got to come out with energy,” said Doten. “Pace and energy because in the fifth inning we just started to lax-a-dasical and we didn’t score any runs. We can’t do that tomorrow. We’re a good team, but we won’t be able to do that in the Championship.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald