By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– There was a big improvement for the Stayton baseball squad going from Week 1 of the Salem Baseball Academy Fall Ball season to their second week as they took on Mound Time Saturday back in Stayton.
The energy in the dugout was better. Defense was sound, only allowing four runs in two games. Offense, though they produced four runs as well, collected ten hits as the Eagles split their doubleheader with the travel ball team on their home turf.
“Everyone was getting more hyped up in the dugout. It seemed like we had a lot more energy than last week, making better plays and playing more as a team,” said Tanner Manning. “I think that’s what improved with us this week was more teamwork.”
“We played good, clean baseball and it showed and we came out on top. It was good,” adds Danner Salisbury. “It was good to have that energy factor and worked in. It honestly felt like we were never losing in that game, even though we were, it never felt like we were.”
Salisbury drove in the lone run in Stayton’s 2-1 defeat to Mound Time in the opener, off an RBI Single that drove Kaden Prien home from second in the third inning.
Salisbury came in for relief of Connor Choate in the seventh inning and had calmed the bats of the Time, which had eight hits in the second game to two runs on the board. Continuing the defensive stranglehold that the Eagle defense had on Mound Time, giving their offense an opportunity to possibly win the game in the eighth with their two hot bats in the game coming up to hit.
Wyatt Connally, who struck out seven the game before, and Manning combined to have five of the eight hits Stayton had in Game 2 of the double header. Connally drew a walk following Salisbury’s pop-out and stole second to set up Manning.
Manning, battled to a 3-2 count, fouling off the second strike before a ripped a single passed the infield to drive Connally home from second for the go-ahead run. It would prove to be the game-winning run in the game as Salisbury went one-, two-, three in the bottom half of the eighth to close out the 3-2 Eagle win Saturday afternoon.
“Our offense struggled a little bit stringing things together. We had guys get good hits and then we couldn’t make it work after that,” Manning said. “But then towards the end of the game, everyone got up’d in the dugout and it gave Wyatt and I the confidence to go out there to get it done.
“The defense was a big help because it kept us in the game the whole time, I think they only scored five runs and that helped keep us in the game and keep us focused.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald