By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– Its proven as a scientific fact that when you out gas on a fire, you’re in for a show.
Through the first two innings of Sunday afternoon’s game versus Corvallis, the Post 20 bats post eight hits that resulted in seven runs with the Dirtbags leading 7-0 after two.
“We just came up with a good attitude and we were aggressive at the start and that’s what carried us throughout the game,” said Jake Maiben.
Defense was great as Eric Kessler had 32 pitches through the first three innings with his defense turning two double plays in the infield and Blake Arritola being Blake in the outfield.
“Oh it’s so smooth, these guys you have no worries. It feels like your on top of the world and you feel unbeatable and you know you can do that and just come out every inning,” said Kessler on the defense’s hot start.
But there was a minor hiccup in the fourth inning where Corvallis loaded up the bases and drove in two before Post 20 got out of the jam, and though Derek Maiben got the two runs back, the Geriding Builders Minutemen loaded up the bases once more in the fifth inning that force Kessler to work out another jam with one out on the board.
Kessler, who topped his pitch count at 90 and was ready to go further beyond the fifth inning after his and his defense’s hot start, had to reset and went back to work.
He gets a fly-out at the mound that was followed by Anthony Zellner getting another behind the catcher’s dish to end the inning.
“Honestly those last two innings were all on me on the mound,” “Everyone in the dugout stayed cool and stay calmed and they kept doing their job and it was all me on the mound, I let the game speed up and it got out of control out there for a bit and then I took a moment and took a deep breathe and relax, reset and got back to it.
“The guys were right behind me just staying in the game and just finish the game.”
And finish the game they did in the fifth inning. Their bats, throughout Corvallis’ late push kept churning out their 12 hits and kept answering the bell. Soon enough, with Peter Mendazona at the plate and his sacrifice fly, sent the Dirtbags to Day 3 of the State Championship bracket as they await another tough challenge in either the Mid-Valley Southpaws or the Medford Mustangs.
The trick will be, and undoubtedly that they’ll be able to do it, is to carry today’s success into Monday night’s success versus either one of those teams.
“If we keep up the intensity we’ll be fine,” said Maiben. “Just keep up our at-bats and don’t let anything go and just fight for it.”