By Jeremy McDonald
RENO, Nev.– Kaiden Doten knows a thing or two about dugout baseball superstitions.
This past Spring at South Salem, where Doten played first base for the Saxons, there was a cardboard sign in the dugout that read ‘Thooah’. The dugout in unison say ‘Thooah!’ after a double or triple and brought out the sign for each Homerun in South Salem’s 6A Semi-Final run this season.
Fast forward to Fourth of July week and the Withnell Dodger annual trip to Reno, there was something similar to that cardboard sign in a stuff doll that resembled Iron Man floating around the Dodger dugout. Doten won the figure in one of those crane machines at Round Table where Doten named it ‘Dave’.
It slowly evolved into ‘Dodger Dave’ by the third day of their Reno Trip when they opened up their second straight doubleheader with a 4-1 victory over Damonte Ranch as the Saxon Superstition became what it is now with Withnell.
And Doten smiled when asked which superstition was better.
“I think Dave may even be better. I’m going to be honest, I think he has more luck in him,” Doten said.
Doten went 2-for-2 with two RBI’s. Michael Soper struck out four in three-and-a-third innings with Cole Herschbach striking out another in two-and-two-thirds in the Dodgers closest game of the Tournament.
“I think we all trusted each other that all of us are really good. It really helps a lot when we can trust each other and play together well and mesh as a team,” said Soper after the first game.
The second game had the makings of bad juju for Dodger Dave and the boys from Salem as they found themselves down 6-4 entering the bottom half of the sixth inning as the fatigue of playing back-to-back doubleheaders began to take a toll on their bodies entering Sunday’s game versus Medford.
However, with their backs against the wall, they looked to their stuffy mascot as like Jobu from Major League to wake up the bats.
A Brock McMullen and Max Long RBI hits tied the game while a balk handed the Dodgers their first lead of the game at 7-6. Doten pushed the lead to 9-6 before the flood gates erupted for the bats of Withnell.
“We flipped the switch last second. We have a lot of talent on this team and when we play up to the best of our abilities, no one can beat us honestly,” said Doten. “The biggest problem is that we beat ourselves a lot of the time. We have guys in different positions today, but our whole team is amazing. We started rooting for each other.”
By innings end, it was a 16-6 six-inning win for the Dodgers as the magic of Dodger Dave pushed them into Sunday’s game against Medford at 2pm at Reno High School to wrap up their Reno trip.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald