By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The game of baseball can be weird sometimes.
For the first five innings in their four-game series finale versus Southwestern Oregon Community College, Banks-graduate Dalton Renne held a perfect game to his name as McNary-Grad’s Josh Benson scored the lone run second inning to hand Chemeketa a 1-0 lead.
“Dalton did a really good job for us and we all played pretty well as a team. I feel like we should have walked away with this one, but little mistakes add up and we ended up not making it,” said Benson, who went 1-for-3 in the contest.
In a game so indicative to momentum swings, a little mistake could turn it for the other team. And with the NWAC Regionals coming up in two weeks, the Storm were looking for any positive momentum entering the postseason following dropping Game 3 of the series 5-4 earlier Saturday.
Prior to the sixth inning, momentum was high. Defense was playing well and it was a darn good game for Chemeketa with hopes high with the unspeakable feat happening on the mound.
The Lakers Jack Hulce broke perfection with a lead off single, but you could sense a lull in the air that sucked energy out of the Storm for a brief moment in the top half of the inning as it slowly snowballed into two runs for Southwestern Oregon by innings end.
Chemeketa hung with it, loading up the bases in the bottom half of the sixth and drawing a Wyatt Baptiste walk to tie the game at two-apiece, but nothing more as Hulce drove in the go-ahead and winning run to make it 3-2 in the seventh inning.
Renne finished the game with a complete game performance with seven strikeouts with both squads having identical four hits on the board. But that weird baseball thing has left a nasty taste in the Storm’s mouths as they enter these two weeks break before the Regional game as they work on the little things in preparation for their next game.
“They’re going to be very important; these two games weren’t really expected so you know our mojo down right now. But I feel like we’re a good ball-club so I feel like we can comeback and work our butts off this week and I know we’ll be ready,” said Sprague-Graduate Justin Culpepper, who went 1-for-2 in the game.
Andrew Ishii and Blake Arritola both recorded hits in the series finale. Culpepper, Wes Crockett and Benson recored two hits in the doubleheader opener Saturday with Mason Pearson and Cameran Hagan each striking out three on the mound.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald