By Jeremy McDonald
Is Father Time really undefeated? Does the old guy still have a trick or two up his sleeve?
Through the first four innings of the Titans-Central game, six if the seven runs came from one of each squad’s alumnus as West led 5-2 over the Panthers.
Noah Juarez, on his way to a 4-for-5 and 3RBI day hitting, led the charge with an 2RBI rip in the first inning. Kaden Reidhead contributed another for the Titans in West Salem’s 11-2 win over Central at Holland Youth Park Wednesday evening.
“Oh it was just fun, I mean just to play against Connor (Laeng) again, he was our teammate last year on the Dirtbags,”said Juarez. “It was fun to get on the bases and talk to him a little bit. It’s always good to play with guys you’ve played with before, us older guys being out here it feels like we’re just out here and represent and lead by example for the younger guys.
“Whatever they do, they look up to us. Hopefully we’re doing a good job.”
Laeng echoed the same sentiment as he drove in the first run of the game for the Panthers in the bottom of the first and answered Blake Arritola’s home run with a home run of his own in the third inning about playing against his former Post 20 Dirtbag teammates. Laeng played with Arritola, Reidhead, Juarez and Braden Allison last summer as the Dirtbags finished third in the American Legion Triple-A State Playoffs in 2019.
“It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun playing against old teammates I’ve played with last summer; it was a lot of fun though. I enjoyed it a lot,” said Laeng, who went 2-for-2 with 2RBI’s “I know we joked about it on the basepaths.
“I thought we hit the ball pretty well (as a team), we just couldn’t get runners in when we had opportunities offensively. Defensively we made a few errors that cost us, but I thought we hit it pretty well.”
The Titans young ‘ns stepped up throughout the game around their older comrades, eventually forced the Central defense into jams. Wilson Netzel had four hits as well, driving in an RBI, Ben Nagel had two hits himself as all 11 of West runs came off of RBI’s in the win.
“Oh, it’s awesome, it means everything. It’s what you want as a teammate, your energy to feed off of other players. You can’t ask for much more,” said Juarez.
Wyatt Bateman struck out five in four innings for Central as the Panther pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts in the game Wednesday evening.