By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–It was two vastly different games for the Withnell Dodgers Sunday afternoon at Willamette University.
Coming off a 6-4 win over Washington power Vancouver Saturday, the Dodger defense was challenged by the bats of the Portland Barbers in the opener of the doubleheader to close out the weekend.
It was a 14-2 win by Portland, a Triple-A Playoff team from 2019, in six innings.
But Game 2, they polished up their defense for the second game as their offense erupted for nine runs through the first five innings of their 9-1 win behind South Salem’s Sean Alvarado’s six strikeouts in five innings of work.
“I think coming back with a chip on our shoulder saying, ‘oh you’re coming into our park and you put a beating on us. But we’re not going down like that’,” said Alvarado of the second game. “We’re going to come back and punch you in the mouth.”
The Barbers, who pulls from Banks High School (4A), Central Catholic (6A), and Jesuit (6A), picked up five hits against the Dodger defense in the second game after collecting 10 hits in the opening game to kick off their season Sunday.
Andrew Rogers (Sprague) picked an inning-and-a-third with a strikeout in relief as the Dodgers travel to Aurora Tuesday to play North Willamette Valley (North Marion) at 6:30pm at North Marion High School before playing Beaverton and having a doubleheader with the Eugene Challengers on June 9.
Three games into a 47-game season is a small sample size of what is a long summer season stretching into late-July when State is, but it does give the squad an opportunity to see where they can improve on entering the next few games to improve on.
“I feel like working on rundowns, working on the small things. Baseball comes down to wants it more and who’s going to be really flying around in the battery with the pitchers and catchers,” said Alvarado, who also played left field Sunday. “If we’re going to be working on anything, I feel like it’s going to be more in the dugout when we’re out on defense or when we’re hitting like being more loud. Bring more energy.”
Alvarado and Sprague’s Will Deloretto each drove in two RBIs each in the second game as Withnell had 10 hits total in the doubleheader.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald