By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– Beaverton made it all too interesting entering the fourth inning with their second three-spot of the game in the third inning to cut Withnell’s 7-3 lead to 7-6 to put pressure on the Dodger defense to make plays.
Noah Ferguson came in for relief of Cole Herschbach and commanded the bump to help set the pace for his defense, picking from what Herschbach started. Michael Soper and Tanner Sorensen helped in the infield with Max Long and Cameron Kallhoff helping in the outfield.
Ferguson and company hung a zero in the fourth, then in the fifth and sixth on the scoreboard, just waiting for their bats that had their chances to bring those baserunners home.
“I can’t take all the credit, I mean I pitched strikes and they hit them to our guys and that’s what really helped me out,” “Fielding groundballs, fly-balls, all that kind of stuff and that’s why I was able to go through with the least amount of pitches I did.
“I had a tough first inning but after I settled in, I realized that they had my back.”
Tori Doten, in between the fifth and sixth inning called his team in as they had the inning before, and told them to let these next two innings of this game to be their best.
“It was important to keep the energy up, and just have to talk. These could have been our last two innings of our season and you just want to make sure we had our best two innings,” said Doten.
They final cracked onto the scoreboard again in the sixth when Reyes Luna sent a blooper to center field that brought Sorensen home to hand Withnell a 8-6 lead before they hung their third-straight gooseegg on the board. In the top half of the seventh, Luna’s North Salem High School teammate in Cameron Kallhoff drove in another run as additional insurance with Withnell turning a quick seventh inning that only saw one runner get on base to seal the 9-6 win to advance the Dodgers to Day 3 of the State Tourney.
“It’s always good to get late insurance runs in a game, we play more loosely like that. I came in clutch, Cameron hit a groundball, got us a RBI too. So those late game runs really help us,” said Luna. “It felt good, we stuck together as a team. We played for each other and we came out on top, we just got to keep playing hard moving forward towards the rest of the tournament.”
After the game, as they team lined up for the post-game handshake, Withnell Dodger coach Mike Godfrey embraced Ferguson for a moment or two as the North Salem coach congratulate the incoming South Salem senior on his performance.
“Just knowing that we get to live to fight another day and that there’s still a chance for us to go and win a State Title,” said Ferguson. “I think we have to go and go win four-, maybe five more games to get there but it’s going to be a long road but it’s going to be a long road.”
The Dodgers play again at 4pm versus the loser of Post 20 and Corvallis in Roseburg.