By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– The last few games have presented challenges to the depth of the Withnell Dodgers as the graduating Seniors on their roster go out on family vacations and the like with the Dodgers traveling down to Roseburg to play some tournament baseball.
In their Tournament opener against Corvallis, Withnell was without five of their ballplayers, but came to play against the Marketmen and held Corvallis to one big offensive output in the second inning.
South Salem’s Ricky Alvarado got the starting nod on the bump Thursday evening and admitted that the five-run inning by the Marketmen was tough even though the Saxon Junior bounced back with a zero-run inning in the third inning.
“My pitching wasn’t on, it was tough mentally to come back from a homerun in dead center. It’s tough you know, but by the end we gave it all we had at the end,” said Alvarado who struck out six in three innings for the Dodgers.
Azel Bumpus hit a three-run shot to center field in the second inning, but it was the lone hit for Bumpus as Withnell held Corvallis to that one output in the 5-4 game Thursday night at Legion Field.
The bats that seemed to have hurt the Dodgers up to this point, scoring five runs or more in four of their nine games this season as they couldn’t find a rhythm against Ryan Hall until the seventh inning where they finally hit some luck.
“I felt like we came out with a lot of fire the last inning. I think it was partially because they tried to end the game right there and we kind of wanted to win it so we came out with a lot of fire,” said Jake Davidson.
Davidson (three) and Rylan Webster (two) accounted for five of Withnell’s eight hits at the bottom of the batting order.
“The last game, the Beaverton game, I feel like we were slow to it and not attacking the ball when we were hitting. I feel like today we were attacking pitches and kind of wanted to hit and wanted to do more,” said Davidson, the nine-hitter in Thursday’s game.
Davidson singled and was on third with the bases loaded with no outs. Michael Soper drove two in on a double and Kaiden Doten had a sacrifice fly that drove in a third run with the tying run at third with Greyson Hanowell coming to the plate with two outs on the board.
Down 5-4 after being down 5-1 entering the inning, Hanowell sent a shot to Center Field towards the gap, only to see Franklin Leonard dive for the ball. Leonard nabbed the out to end the game and saved Hanowell from tying the game up.
And with their second game of the tournament against Willamette Valley Friday afternoon, their confident that they can snap their three-game skid entering Saturday’s game versus Roseburg.
“We’re pretty prepared, I have total confidence in this team right now,” said Alvarado.
Jackson Hildebrand pitched three innings, striking out two for Withnell.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald