By Jeremy McDonald
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.– If anything, this Day 2 game between Post 20 and the Eugene Challengers was probably the game of the tournament eight games in.
The 3-2 Challenger victory wouldn’t ‘pop’ like some of the scores posted entering the third day of the American Legion Triple-A State Tournament, but it could be a set-up for a Day 4 or a possibly Championship Wednesday match-up between the two teams coming down the stretch for the Title.
The two Dirtbag runs were unique all in itself with a Derek Maiben sac-hit and a pass ball score by Emiliano Alacron to hand the Area-3 Champs a 2-0 over the Area-4 Champions entering the bottom half of the opening frame.
Post 20’s lead held true until the bottom half of the second half of the inning where a minor hiccup here and a hit there turned the somewhat comfortable Dirtbag lead into a Eugene lead 3-2.
Offense was about to have that ‘tech boom’ right? Sadly, not in this one as Cameron Hagan and Beau Burnett combined for 13 innings, allowing 11 hits and striking out six batters with their defense stopping anything from being strung together offensively.
“We battled our asses off the entire time. Both of our teams were equally as good and it just didn’t go our way, a couple of hits here and there put us in a bad spot. But we just got to reset and focus up again,” said Hagan, who struck out three, allowed five hits in six innings of work.
In both of the Dirtbags games at Kiger Stadium, their bats that could intimidated teams as they have all season, have come in clutch so far entering Day 3. And though the bats weren’t there with six hits to two runs to show for it Sunday, the Post 20 defense was on target in keeping themselves in the game behind Hagan’s complete game.
With their backs against the wall with one more loss ending their season, the biggest thing will be their mentality and just play Dirtbag baseball.
“The most important thing going into tomorrow is not to hang our heads. Just be mentally strong and ready to go and keep playing our brand,” said Alacron. “Today we did it, a few things didn’t go our way and that was the decision against a tough team like that. If we keep doing our thing, hitting the ball and playing Dirtbag baseball we’ll be good.”
Alacron and Noah Juarez each had two hits each in the game as Post 20 plays Beaverton at 1pm. Beaverton eliminated Willamette Valley 5-1 Sunday after losing to Withnell Saturday 9-1.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald