By Jeremy McDonald
SCIO, Ore.– With second through fourth-place in the 3A Special District 1 standings separate by a game-, game-and-a-half, the last few league games are as important as the next.
Salem Academy, sitting a half-game behind the Loggers for second-place in the league standings, a win would definitely put them in favorable position for one of the three Automatic Bids out of the conference come playoffs time.
For Scio, who have a bulk of their Varsity roster as freshman, to see it pay-off come league and them battling for one of the three spots in something incredible.
“It’s a pretty awesome opportunity watching these freshman. They’re all starting to grow and it’s awesome to play with all of these young players I’ve watched my brother played with and I get to play with everyone now that I watched throughout the years,” said Logger Senior Austin Ellis.
Younger brother Kolton drew a walk in three at-bats Monday evening in the Crusaders 6-5 win over Scio to move into second-place.
But, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed as Salem Academy saw their 6-0 lead quickly evaporate into a 6-5 lead entering the fifth thanks to a five-run inning.
“That was stressful,” smiled the Crusaders Michael Pass who was on the hill in the game. “They just hit the ball and got it in the right spots. But we got out of it and we came out on top.”
Pass surrendered two free bags as the Scio defense picked up four singles and scored another off a Salem Academy error.
“It was really exciting, but I wish we could’ve kept up our energy from that one inning on the offensive end,” said Ellis of the inning moving into the final three innings. “We just got to start on offense a lot earlier. We’ve had late starts almost in the fourth or five innings at times. If we can come out early on offense we’ll be good I feel like.”
Korben DeZurney came in for relief of Dustin Erickson as the Logger defense turned back-to-back three-up, three-down innings. But the Crusader defense did the same thing on their end, closing gaps and making the clutch outs to keep Scio from completing the comeback on their Senior Night moving into their game with Horizon Christian of Tualatin Tuesday.
“They’re a good hitting team, we just got to make plays. We can’t let them comeback and get some momentum. Once they get that, it’s all downhill for us. But we were able to stop them and that was good,” said Salem Academy’s Luke Miller. “We got to pitch well. Pitch strikes and we got to hit the ball.”
Miller contributed to four of the final nine outs for the Crusaders that included turning a successful double play in the bottom of the seventh inning while going 1-for-2 at the plate. Pass went 2-for-3 with six strikeouts pitching as Salem Academy closes out with Horizon Christian Tuesday and Yamhill-Carlton Friday.
Jake Trissel went 3-for-3 with a RBI for Scio with Austin Ellis going 2-for-3. The Loggers are at Jefferson Wednesday and at Amity/Perrydale Friday to close out the regular season.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald