By Jeremy McDonald
MONMOUTH, Ore.– Post 20 did what they had to do to get back into the Area-3 League Title race Tuesday afternoon with their sweep of their first two games of the four-game series with Withnell.
Jaret Stewart, in Game 1, pitched a complete game with five strikeouts as Jacob Maiben hit the go-ahead run in the sixth in the 3-2 win at Western Oregon University.
Game 2 however, Dirtbag teammate Cameron Hagan outdid Stewart’s complete game performance with a complete game no-hitter in Post 20’s 2-0 win as the series turns to Willamette University Wednesday.
Entering the seventh inning, Hagan was a walk shy of chasing Perfection, having walked Cole Herschbach in the first inning as he knew the no-hitter was lingering in the back of his head.
“I was trying to not think about it, but at the same time it’s in the back of your head. I just knew that if someone did get one like they did, the defense is going to work and we’re going to get out of it like we did. Overall I felt pretty good,” said Hagan.
As ironic as it was, the first batter of the seventh inning was Herschbach as the Sprague-graduate drew another walk on a seven-pitch at-bat.
But trusting the defense behind him, Hagan forced Michael Soper to ground into his second double play of the game for two quick seventh inning outs.
“It was huge,” smiled Hagan. “I had a huge smile on my face.”
Hagan struck out Max Long for the final out, Hagan’s seventh K of the contest to polish off not just his no-hitter, but to get the Dirtbags to within one game of winning the league title after going into the series Tuesday needing to win the series.
“Winning both of these are massive. Now we have momentum rolling into tomorrow and just got to take another one from them tomorrow and we got it done,” said Hagan.
Cameron Kallhoff and Herschbach both pitched complete games themselves and only allowed five combined runs in the two games, but it was their plate approach that backfired on them after entering the Newport series last week hacking at pitches pretty solidly.
“We think if we get our approaches right, then we’ll be able to hit the ball around the park and get a couple of dubs,” said Kallhoff, who struck out two in six innings. “I think before our last couple of games with Newport I think we were hitting the ball pretty well and we just hit kind of a cold spot. But we need to figure it out if we want to play better tomorrow.”
Herschbach struck out three in six innings.
Noah Juarez and Derek Maiben drove in runs in Game 2 for Post 20. Game 3 and 4 are at Willamette starting at 2pm.