By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– The Post 20 Dirtbags defense had to find ways to slow down the surging bats of the Hillsboro Barbers from Area-2 to start the Triple-A State Playoffs at Legion Field Saturday.
After taking a 4-0 lead into the third inning, the Barbers challenged Jaret Stewart, Kaden Reid and Kaden Reidhead to bring the game to within reach with the game at 8-5 entering the bottom of the fourth inning with the Dirtbags finding ways to answer Hillsboro’s scores with some of their own.
“I think it was a huge eye-opener, it’s State Tournament baseball it’s always intense,” Jackson Holstad described the environment they were in to open up the Bracket. “I just think that our team doesn’t give up, we just take everything pitch-by-pitch.”
And the boys of Post 20 didn’t back down with a pass ball brought Anthony Zellner home to make it 9-5 entering the fifth inning and Derek Maiben was brought home after another big Barbers inning entering the seventh with the score at 10-8.
West Salem’s Braden Allison came in during the sixth inning for Post 20’s fourth pitcher of the game and pitched a great sixth inning to keep Hillsboro from doing too much damage with an opportunity to close out the game and get the save opportunity in the seventh to help advance his squad to the second round of the State Playoffs.
Allison opened the seventh by giving a pop-out to Holstad that was answered by a Barber’s double and a Peter Mendazona-to-Tristan Fergus sacrifice groundball put the runner at third base with the tying run at home with two outs on the board. Allison battled before surrendering a walk to put runners on the corners and the go-ahead run coming to the plate.
With the mid-day Roseburg heat beating down on him and his teammates, Allison went back to work again and this time got the final out through a strikeout to end the game and await now for their next opponent for Sunday’s second-round game of the Triple-A State tournament.
“Oh it was really intense, but in that situation you just got to buckle down and just filled it up. Let your defense make plays, we got a lead too so just filled it up and let them hit the ball,” said Allison as they trickle to behind the dugout to meet as a team following the 10-8 first-round win.
There was talk of how gritty this game was, and it certainly was with how much teams don’t want to lose this first game of the tournament and to be faced with elimination on the second day, but it served as a good learning experience with the second game coming Sunday afternoon.
“It was a good learning experience because we get to see how the field plays and the wind, these late-afternoon games. I think it’s good but I think we have a lot to prove, that’s not our best baseball, I think we have a lot more,” said Holstad.
As they left the ballpark for the evening, there was a sentence on the ground next to where they met in pale blue chalk that said, ‘Hi I’m Jaret Stewart’ with a smiley face below it. It’s unknown who put it down, but Stewart liked the idea of it.
“It’s good to see because we’re staying relaxed and having fun while we’re here. That’s a big part of this tournament is to have fun but make sure you’re playing good,” said Stewart on the chalk sentence on the ground.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald