By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– After with how Game 2 of the series ended Monday in Corvallis, Post 20 came out on home turf looking for the series win over the Gerding Builders Minutemen after the two team’s split the opening two games the day before.
Kaleb Kantola was in the zone through the five-and-a-third innings he threw to start the third game of the series, striking out five and him and his defense permitted just one Corvallis hit while he was on the bump.
“I knew if I could keep them under two runs, our offense is a really good offense so we’re going to score runs. So just keep them under two, but I did better than that and I just pitched really well. A few walks here and there kind of hurt me, but I felt pretty good,” said Kantola on his performance as he also touched based on cutting down the number of walks he had in Tuesday’s game. “Just working down the mound more because when I usually miss, it’s up so just try to miss down more and just focus on hitting my spots more.”
The bats, which started the series off hot before cooling down in the second game, revved back up as they turned a favorable call in the bottom half of the second inning in a then-2-0 game into a five-run second inning to balloon the lead to 6-0 with the squad taking an 8-0 lead into the sixth inning.
“It was really nice, espically Kantola being able to come out there with the lead early and pitch with the lead it’s big for him. He went what? Five innings, five-and-a-third and threw really well and it’s a big confidence booster for us to have to close out a series like he did today,” said Anthony Zellner, who caught Tuesday’s game and went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in the game.
Peter Mendazona came in for relief for Kantola with a out in the sixth and was working out some kinks when the Minutemen got on the board with bringing home two walked batters on their second and final hit of the game to make it an 8-2 game entering the seventh.
Mendazona walked the first batter of the seventh after they got back onto defense with the game still a six-run lead in favor of the home team before the Central-infielder/pitcher forced a 6-4-3 double play and a 6-3 putout to end the game to get the Dirtbags back in the plus-side of the league standings a game over .500 entering the WOU Tournament on Thursday.
“It’s huge to bounce back today because against Albany we had a doubleheader second day, we lost two of them so we were down in league. We were even after yesterday so this gets us above .500 in league and gives us a chance to compete for second or first-place, it puts us in a good spot,” said Zellner. “Beating a good team they’ve got pretty good bats themselves. To come out and lay it on them early is nice.”
With another tournament on the docket for Post 20, they’re looking forward to getting back to a tournament championship game for the fourth-time this season, having reach the Championship Game in the Grant Smith Wood Bat Tournament, Willamette Classic and Papa’s Tourney, winning two of the three tournaments.
“It’s a big momentum builder, we did good today and we can take that into the next tournament and I think we can win that tournament,” said Kantola. “We’ve been in the Championship in every tournament we’ve been in so far.”
Blake Arritola went 3-for-4 with a RBI and Treve Earhart had two hits for the Dirtbags with three Post 20 batters getting at least two hits in the game.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald