By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Baseball can be a weird game at times.
The Olympian squad from Sprague, coming off the heels of a tough 6-3 defeat to the Valley Baseball Club in Game 1 of their doubleheader at Blanchet Catholic, had turned a 1-0 deficit entering the fourth inning into a 6-1 lead by half-innings end in the 7-6 Valley victory Sunday. Knowing that their big inning would pressure the bats of Valley to rally back.
“It does put a lot of pressure on them,” said Eli Lowe. “It was what? 1-1 and we went up 6-1, we got that big inning and in order for them to get back they have to chip away a lot more then if it was (still) 1-1.”
Lowe came in during the second inning for Jackson Muth, who started the game, and pitched the next five innings with six strikeouts. Him and his defense kept Valley to a Cody Wirth RBI double in the third with Valley throwing a hodgepodge of pitchers at the Olys with limited amount of pitchers available on this day for the squad.
University of Oregon-commit and Southridge pitcher Jake Dodge came in during the fifth inning with Valley looking anyway to slow the bats of the Olympians down. Dodge did just that, turning back-to-back three-up, three-down innings as the Skyhawk arm went three innings with five strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit.
“It was just awesome because we just knew he was go out there and get them up and get them down. I thought it was great defense, it put a lot less pressure on our guys when we were swinging,” said Danny Alvarado. “We knew we had a little bit of extra time to get the bats going, but we also knew he was going to keep them to a small amount of hits and runs.”
Just like what happened in the fourth when Muth, Brett Hassoun and Spencer Kowalski had their RBI hits, Valley had their hits coming. But in the sixth.
Valley loaded up the bases and slowly, Brandon Reed with a single, Kyle Kramer with a double, Dodge with a double the VBC came back. Alvarado would drive Dodge hope with a blooper to shallow right field with Valley now leading 7-6 entering the Top of the seventh inning.
“It just started in the dugout. A lot of us aren’t really too familiar with who’s all here and all that, so it’s kind of like an environment thing where it’s a bunch of guys that wanted to go out and win,” said Alvarado. “So it was like, ‘let’s go out and rally’ which led to a great rally with two outs there in the sixth inning. I mean it was great, but it all started in the dugout.”
Baseball can be weird sometimes. A weird play here, big inning there and we’re talking a different game. It’s just a matter of trying to minimalized those situations the best that you can as both squads prepare for next weekend.
“We just got to minimalized that one big inning that they had. If that never happened, then the game would have been pretty easy blow through,” said Lowe.
Jackson Muth led the Olys with 2RBI’s on 1-for-3 hitting. Alvarado and Dodge each went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory. Julius Scott was 2-for-3 for Valley.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald