By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– It wasn’t how the South Salem 10U team imagine their season ending Friday at the Ted Norman Memorial Baseball Complex in Eugene.
Being one of ten teams to make it to the 2019 Regional Championships in Babe Ruth-Cal Ripkin baseball with an opportunity to go to the World Series in Alabama on the line, the Saxons won their first two games Thursday in strong fashion. A 6-3 win over Bozeman, Montana and a 10-0 win over Ellensburg, Washington in four innings.
“It’s just awesome honestly, it’s like you’re good enough to be one of the teams to make it. It’s an accomplishment to yourself,” said Teagan Scott, who went .538 with three RBI’s in the tournament. “It’s awesome.”
Teammates Ben Greer (.417 hitting, four RBI’s) and Talen Williams (.600 with nine RBI’s) too helped lead the South Salem offense.
The Saxons, who was ranked first in the State of Oregon and were ranked second entering the Regional tournament, dropped their first pool play game of Friday to Willamette Valley 9-6 before building a 6-1 lead on the Nampa All-Stars entering the third inning in their final pool play game of the day.
“You just got to get the ball in play and get on base and good things will happen,” said Williams, who went 2-for-3 against Nampa.
But, the kryptonite that plaqued a South Salem team that finished the season 38-6 Friday reared its ugly head again:
Five Saxon errors allowed the Nampa All-Stars to turn the five-run South Salem lead into an 8-6 lead in favor of the Idahoan sluggers entering the fifth inning.
“I felt like we made a lot of errors in the field, but I feel like the last two innings there was a lot of pressure,” said Scott coming down the stretch of the game.
Scott drove in Harrison Buckingham to cut the lead to one thanks to a double before Greer, who went four innings pitching, drove in Scott to tie the game up at eight apiece while putting Brayden Fleener on third with his single.
The Saxons had the bases loaded, but couldn’t regain the lead as Scott came in to relieve Greer. Scott turned a three-up, three-down inning, but again the Nampa defense stymied the bats of South Salem to force the Saxon defense to come through in the clutch to extend the game beyond the sixth.
Nampa however, riding the momentum from scoring seven of the games last nine runs, rode it to the finish line as they loaded up the bases before Aaron Vavold drove in the winning run to win the game 9-8.
“I thought we could have got that last out, but errors killed us,” said Williams of the game.
But being one of ten teams to reach this point to compete for one of those Final Four spots, being one win shy of Saturday’s bracket let lone an opportunity to play for the World Series, is a feat they’ll surely won’t forget.
“It was good. The first time making it to Regionals,” said Williams of the opportunity.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald