By Jeremy McDonald
MT. ANGEL, Ore.– With two strong defenses going up against each other for a spot in the 2A/1A State Title Game, it came down to one-hit that helped lift Kennedy over North Douglas to go to the Title Game Friday.
Matter of fact, the 1-0 result was unique in that the Warriors threw a combined no-hitter and the lone Trojan run came off a Demetre Marseille sacrifice hit in the bottom half of the third inning while Kennedy pitcher Josha Valladres threw a seven-strikeout two-hitter.
“We played great defense. We just had a few miscues that could have not scored the one run. But overall, if we had a better batting game,” said North Douglas’ Junior Colton Anderson. “I think we all need to get better at batting mainly. Learn not to get down as much. Quite a few of us did get down on ourselves when we did bad plays.”
The traveling Warriors graduate three seniors from this year’s squad as North Douglas returns the core of this year’s squad into 2020.
Valladres didn’t surrender a hit until two outs on the board in the sixth inning, a Austin Frieze single broke up the no-hitter even though the Warriors got on base thanks to walks surrendered by Valladres.
That’s when, however, the Trojan defense clamped down. Making pick-off plays at second, plays in the outfield or the rare strikeout-to-putout-at-second in the fifth kept Norht Douglas from possibly tying the game up during the duration of the game.
“We have one of the best defenses in 2A, I got to give it to them,” said Valladres of his defense.
At 27-2, their 70 runs allowed, only Reedsport, Umpqua Valley Christian and Knappa had fewer runs allowed entering Tuesday’s game. UVC and Knappa played Tuesday with the Monarchs’ rallying from 9-0 down to win 12-10.
“Our defense is good. We don’t have a ‘guy’ on the mound, we just have our defense. Everybody’s good, we’re all solid,” said Marseille. “So our defense, we’re just solid.”
Marseille’s hit that drove in the go-ahead run, though resulted in an out at the time, spoke to the plate awareness and the practice they’ve been putting in all year to get to this point.
“I was just looking for a curve ball, I knew he was going to a curve ball and I was just waiting on it. I hit it to the right side,” he said of the hit. “All year we’ve been working on that, just hitting to the right side and scored the guy in. I’m excited, I’m happy.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald