By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The streak is over.
The last time Stayton baseball had won a Oregon West Conference game was May 11, 2016 against Cascade for their fourth and final league win of the season. A 4-3 win over the Cougars.
Their 14-2 loss to Philomath to close out the season two days later started a 37-game league losing streak.
Yes, the Eagles tasted victory. Once in 2017, four in 2018 and three in 2019 entering their game versus Woodburn. But after losing two one-run games and another two within three-runs, it was nice to hold off a charging Bulldog seventh inning rally to put to bed the streak for Stayton.
Donovan Stanley was a freshman on Varsity the last time the Eagles won a league game and the victory brought up mixed emotions, knowing how hard it’s been for them leading up to this win.
“It’s mixed. I mean I’m glad we won, but it’s just been a long time coming. It’s been hard,” said Stanley.
Stanley drove in the first RBI’s of the game in the first inning, turning a 2-0 lead from two bases loaded walks into a 4-0 lead with a two-RBI single. It was his lone hit of the game.
Junior pitcher Jared Mitchell turned in another solid performance for Stayton on the bump, striking out 10 Woodburn batters in six innings of work. He described the win as a long time coming for them as individuals and as a team.
“I’m thrilled, it’s so nice to be able to finally get that league win that we’ve been wanting the last three years. Two for me,” said Mitchell. “We’ve been right there all season and to be able to come out on top, it’s amazing.”
The offense slowed down a hair, only scoring once in the bottom of the fourth off one of three hits by Tanner Manning on a RBI single to answer back Michael Masters RBI double in the top half of the inning.
It was one of the struggles they had Monday said Mitchell, that and their defense in the top half of the seventh inning when Woodburn struck three-times with no outs before recording their first out, as areas of improvement entering Game 2 of the series Wednesday.
“Today we started to struggle defensively in the top of the seventh and outside of the first and the sixth innings, we struggled hitting the ball. I think we can work on both of those things and use it in the games,” said Mitchell.
The Eagles picked off Ethan Ing at first for the first out before reliever Danner Salisbury picked up his lone strikeout of the game. Salisbury picked up a Reese Miller Fly-Out to end the game with a runner at second base.
Stayton had a four-run sixth inning to increase a then 5-2 lead to 9-2 when Mitchell, Manning and Tanner Goodman all recorded RBI singles while Kaleb Banes drove in a run on a sacrifice hit.
Manning finished 3-for-3 in the game and joined Goodman, Banes and Stanley as Eagles who drove in two RBIs each. The Bulldogs Carter Nelson went 2-for-3 with a RBI as four Woodburn batters recorded an RBI.