By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– All it took Thursday morning was a hit to get South Salem’s Ricky Alvarado into his zone on the bump at Volcanoes Stadium against Parkside.
It wasn’t a hit against him. By all means it helped his cause when he returned to the rubber in the bottom half of the second inning on this day with confidence riding high. Confidence and pitching, and sustaining that throughout is pretty dangerous.
“It’s a great motivator, especially going into pitching again. It gets your ego up and you got this attitude on the mound, so I feel like that was the key for me throwing as well as I did today,” said Alvarado.
Yogi Berra once said that baseball is 90-percent mental and the other half is physical. I know it’s confusing, but look up the quote.
Alvarado was coming off a seven-strikeout in three inning performance Monday afternoon when he ripped a deep two-run double in the top of second towards the mammoth fence towards right field, turning a spark into a fire as the Valley Baseball Club scored five runs. All before the squad returned to the field to play defense with motivation in hand.
“That five-run inning really helped us. When Ricky hit that double with the bases-loaded, helped himself out. That (inning) made us win the game,” said McNary’s Ethan Patterson. “I hit a triple (in the sixth) and Cody (Wirth) did his part with a groundball to score me which also helped us keep up a three-run lead when they scored an extra run in the last inning.”
It was their most balanced game coming out of their week-off break going into the Fall baseball season as we enter September. Alvarado continued his dominance. No-hitter until a double in the fourth that scored two, one-hitter through six.
Alvarado’s strikeouts piled up. He had ten through five, 13 through six. Every pitch, out and inning since that double in the second snowballed into Thursday’s 124-pitch, complete game performance.
“It’s a huge motivator throwing 130 pitches. The last few games I’ve gone three innings, two innings maybe and seeing that I can go a full-game now…it’s kind of the world to me knowing that I can play in college,” said Alvarado. “It just means the world. It’s a huge confidence booster coming into the season again because I was ready for the season before Covid hit and had to rebuild again. We’re here now, we’ll see how it goes.”
Fatigue set in as a run scored in the seventh, Alvarado battled through it. Finishing with 15-strikeouts to close out the 18U Salem-Keizer Tournament 2-2 with a 6-3 victory Thursday morning while allowing only three hits against him.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost (moving forward) after playing some good teams out here. It’s always good to win and good to head forward, I’m excited for the rest of Fall,” said Patterson who went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Wirth and Danner Salisbury each also drove in RBI’s as Valley tallied six hits and drew four walks. Alvarado was 1-for-2 hitting.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald