By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The bats of Withnell have probably came around right when they need them entering the State Playoffs Saturday afternoon.
Just as impressive as their 17 runs on 22 hits in their series sweep of the Lakeridge Pabco Roofers Monday and Tuesday and the clutch defense in Game 1’s 6-5 victory that carried into Game 2’s 11-5 victory was a good sign for their State Opening game versus Beaverton in Klamath Falls.
“It’s definitely relieving, we haven’t hit the ball well the last couple of weeks since we came back from Reno. We’ve been seeing the ball well today and we were hitting it very well,” said Michael Soper, who pitched a complete game with two hits and three RBI’s. “It felt good defensively to have that cushion there, we weren’t as tight.”
The Dodgers one through three hitters of Sean Alvarado, Cameron Kallhoff and Soper accounted for nine of Withnell’s 15 hits and drove in eight of the Dodgers 11 RBI’s in Tuesday’s win to clinch their trip to Klamath entering the five day voyage to the State Championship.
“Those first few innings determine how a team does offensively and I thought that’s true also with the top of the lineup because the top of the lineup can really get it started or they can get people thinking, “how the f*** are we going to do this?’,” said Kallhoff, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI’s in Tuesday’s win.
“I thought we did a really good job of doing what we had to do moving guys over, doing a good job and helping the three-four guys and everyone else get doing.”
With the State bracket being filled out following the sub-state series, Medford winning their series versus Corvallis in their quest for six-straight State Title with Willamette Valley and Hillsoboro winning their series Tuesday as well, it’s now a matter of carrying the momentum over to State.
The biggest thing for Withnell, as team’s like Beaverton, Post 20, Klamath Falls and Eugene had this week off to heal up and prepare, is to just stay loose over the next few days.
“We just have to stay loose,” said Soper. “We play a lot better not tight and feel like we need to win. Play more like we want to have fun and play to the best of our abilities.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald