By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was strange to see McNary-Grad Ty Covalt take to the bump for the second game of Keizer’s doubleheader versus Withnell Monday afternoon.
Covalt, who saw a batter in 14U ball on the hill, saw his first action as a pitcher for the Crushers earlier this season as Keizer tried to fill out their pitching staff. And after his performance Monday, the Crushers may have found maybe a spot start guy if not a reliever as they try to make a run for a sub-state berth this season.
“Yeah I don’t have much experience on the mound but I know one thing, I’m going to challenge them,” said Covalt. “And if they beat me, they’ll beat me with my best stuff. I’m going to compete. I got a lot to improve on though, I feel like I did an ok job.”
The bulk of the team he was going up against with the Dodgers were all kids he played against from North Salem, South Salem and Sprague over the last four years as a Celtic.
Though he didn’t reinvent the art of pitching, it was probably something straight from ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ if someone told you that Covalt was pitching. But that unfamiliarity of him pitching threw the Dodgers batters through the ringer during the six innings the Umpqua CC-Commit was throwing.
“We could have hit better, it’s always a grind. Doubleheader, second game I thought we did a good job,” said Withnell’s Kaiden Doten. “We could have played better. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.”
Covalt had a one-hitter going entering the bottom of the fourth inning, that lone hit was a Cameron Kallhoff triple that Michael Soper scored through a sacrifice fly-out the next at-bat.
Matter of fact, Covalt surrendered three hits to Withnell while striking out two in his complete game effort at Willamette University Monday. But minor hiccups defensively, a pass-ball here or an error there, spoiled a relatively solid start by an athlete that is learning something new as the Dodgers took Game two of the four-game series 5-2.
“I trust every guy out there and in the dugout, everyone out there can make a spectacular play so that makes me super relax knowing that I have that support,” said Covalt of his defense. “They helped a ton, I couldn’t do it without them.”
Covalt was gave up three earned runs of the five as Sean Alvarado and Noah Ferguson each drove in an RBI each in the win. The bats of Keizer however began to time out Cole Herschbach, who too threw a complete game, as they collected six hits and had the tying run at home before Herschbach and the Dodger defense shut the door on the Crusher rally to take the second game.
Now going to Stayton Tuesday afternoon for the back-end doubleheader that starts at 2pm, Withnell leads the series two games to none after taking Game 1 3-0 after each Alvarado and David Allen pitching gems for their respective ball clubs, the Dodgers will be looking for their second league sweep of the season.
“We all know we didn’t play our best game today. We’re hungry, we want more. I trust our guys to do better than we did today,” said Doten. “I mean we got ‘dubs’ that’s always a good thing, but we always expect more out of ourselves.”
“We just got to compete and control what we can control. Do what we can to help the ballclub. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains,” smiles Covalt as they hope to squeeze a win or two Tuesday at home.