By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– It was one of those type of games in which something good was bound to happen.
In a tough start to the season for the Portland Gherkins, who enter their Friday afternoon game with the Gresham Greywolves 0-3, it hasn’t been necessarily smooth sailings down 4-3 to the ‘Wolves entering the eighth inning of play. Their closest game on the year was to the Portland Pickles on July 11, both teams season opener in which the Pickles won 2-1.
Central-grad Humberto Alacron, who’s played at shortstop through the four games including Friday’s 11-4 victory, knew how nice it was to finally get over the hump and walk away with one of these hard fought victories in the Wild Wild West League.
“It’s been great, we’ve been hitting the ball the past couple of games. But it feels really good to finally get the pitching dialed in and get a win,” said Alacron, who went 1-for-4 Friday in the win.
Ruben Cedillo, also a former Panther, hit the first of four home runs Friday on the heels of his 2-for-3 3RBI day Thursday with the Central baseball squad in Salem to give the Gherkins a brief 1-0 lead.
The defense held strong behind George Eisenhardt and Robby Ahlstrom, giving up four runs on five hits before handing the reigns over to South Salem-grad Elijah Enomoto-Haole. Enomoto-Haole was making his debut, Friday and was staring down a pressure situation pitching down one and only two more offensive opportunities for his offense left in the game.
He turned a Fly-Out, Ground-Out and Fly-Out type of one, two, three inning to set up the offensive explosion that was about to happen.
“I just give all the credit to the guys. They all made me feel comfortable, first-time out here. Saying they got my back, going out there doing my job…pitching to contact and get outs,” said Enomoto-Haole.
The offense backed one of their new arms. A solo shot by Rowan Ramsey and a Grand Slam by Miles Norman led an eight-run inning to give Enomoto-Haole an opportunity to close out the game a tad bit more comfortably in the ninth.
“I was very comfortable going out there with that big of a lead. All you got to do is to put the ball into the strike-zone and let your guys do work compare to the eighth with a one-run lead, you feel the pressure,” said Enomoto-Haole. “I give all the credit to my hitters for giving me that big of a lead.”
The Saxon-Grad and Chemeketa-pitcher turned his second three-up, three-down inning to close out the 11-4 game with the Gherkins returning Saturday for a rematch with the GreyWolves at Bob Brack Stadium at North Marion High School.
“I think we did well compare to the Pickles, we put up the run and we just…the bats fell off the table the rest of the game,” said Alacron. “This game, we kept it going all the way through and didn’t stop swinging it. That was the difference there and it helped a lot.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald