By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.—When the game entered the sixth inning, it seemed as if the writing was on the wall for the doubleheader between the Post 20 Dirtbags and the Withnell Dodgers.
The Dirtbags, who took the first game 9-1 from the Dodgers, led Withnell 8-2 entering the sixth inning with Eric Kessler pitching a good game while Post 20 bats were finding holes against Will DeLoretto and his defense.
“We just came out hitting the ball, putting the ball in play and playing with fire and getting after it. Just playing ball,” said Post 20’s Tristan Fergus, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the second game of the doubleheader and 4-for-6 in the two games Thursday.
In the sixth inning, Max Long singled to start off the top half of the inning before Tanner Sorensen hit an RBI double to score Long and start a three-run inning that also saw RBI hits from Kaiden Doten (RBI Single) and Cole Herschbach grounding into a Fielder’s Choice to make it a 8-5.
The Dirtbags couldn’t extend the lead any further than three-runs, but no biggie right? With the defense they have, it seemingly fit that they could prevent Withnell from doing much more damage.
But, the Dodgers did just that as they slowly chipped away at the lead against Peter Mendazona. Michael Soper single to start, Long walked. Mendazona gets Sorensen out on a dropball strike three. Tori Doten loads the bases as Kaiden Doten drives two in via and RBI Single to make it an 8-7 game.
Reyes Luna drives in another run off a RBI Single to tie the game up with Justin Culpepper hit by a pitch before a loose ball allowed Kaiden Doten to score from third base before Noah Ferguson popped out thanks to a Braden Allison pitch to cause it.
“I mean baseball is a momentum game so whoever has the momentum is good, so whoever led off the sixth was me with a base hit and then that started everything,” said Long. “One person can light a fire and that’s what happen and everything strung together and that was good but we could still improve from the game.”
Ferguson came out to the bump to start the bottom of the seventh inning and was faced with Mendazona, Blake Arritola and Derek Maiben with Anthony Zellner and Jacob Maiben right behind them; and Ferguson had to prevent the momentum from going back to the Dirtbags as Post 20 had already hung a four-spot on the Dodgers earlier in the game.
Ferguson got Mendazona to pop-out on a 1-1 count and struck out both Arritola and Maiben to turn the 1, 2, 3 inning to end the game and complete the comeback on the road Thursday afternoon at Western Oregon University.
“It shows that even if we are down a lot of runs, we were down what? 8-2 going into the sixth inning and we put up seven runs in those two inning and it shows that we could come back from any deficit no matter how much it is and that we can believe in ourselves and hit the baseball the way we know how,” said Ferguson.
And with Friday’s game deciding who gets the third and fourth spots in the Area 3 American Legion Standings and for sub-state positioning entering next week, it’s crucial to clean up the little things entering this big game at Willamette University.
“Oh yeah we’re ready to come out tomorrow and we really want that (game),” said Fergus.
“Tomorrow we got to go out there with one mindset and that’s to win a baseball game and win the series,” said Long. “So whatever we do, think good thoughts and we’ll be fine and everything will work out in the end.”
First pitch is at 5pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald