By Jeremy McDonald
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.– The series between Beaverton and Withnell this season had been close games when the two squads met in the opening round of the American Legion Triple-A State Playoffs with the Dodgers 9-6 win on June 22 being the largest margin of win this season.
And for the first four innings, it had the looks to be one of those close finishes as the game entered the fifth inning.
Cole Herschbach, who pitched all seven innings with five strikeouts, and his defense held the Beaverton squad to that Michael ball RBI hit in the third. Cameron Kallhoff and Michael Soper drove in runs in the fifth and Withnell had Will DeLoretto and Greyson Hanowell singled in the sixth with the Dodgers looking to do more damage.
“It’s nice, it’s really relaxing,” said Herschbach of the offensive output in the Dodgers 9-1 win Saturday. “You don’t really have too much to worry about when your up so much like that. It really helped, it was big.”
Kaiden Doten was due up with DeLoretto and Hanowell on base, and the South Salem-Grad didn’t hit a Grand Slam as he did in the postseason for the Saxons, but his three-run homerun had turn the then 3-1 lead into a 6-1 lead in one swing.
For the Dodgers, who lost the Area-3 Title against the Post 20 Dirtbags, there was a sense of confidence in how they were able to bounce back after that series. After dropping two of their three games to Beaverton this season and to call it a day as they tallied three more runs in the sixth to put away their first win of the State Tournament.
“I think the biggest part was that after Post 20 when we got swept, it shows a lot of character that we were able to come back against (Lakeridge) and come back here with our heads held high and played our baseball,” said Doten. “It would have been easy for us to get swept and say hey and hang our heads, but I love it. I love our team.”
Herschbach struck out five while Doten and Michael Soper each went 3-for-4 in the win Saturday.
Withnell plays the five-time defending State Champions Medford at 4pm at Kiger Stadium.