By Jeremy McDonald
ALBANY, Ore.– For what it was worth, Sprague took full advantage of the opportunities West Albany Wednesday afternoon on the road.
Slated to be one of the best match-ups of the day across Oregon, both teams combining for a 16-3 record entering the game, Sprague (9-2) found ways with the seven walks and six errors provided by the Bulldogs (8-2) to walk-away with an 8-4 win on this warm May day.
“It was huge, all we had to do was to put the ball into play and let them field ground balls. We’ve been working on hitting the top-half of the ball and having them field it and it had a big part (in it),” Carsen VanKempen said. “I thought we did really well. We choked up on the ball really well and we were prepared to see high velo and that’s what we got and we just flat hit the ball.”
VanKempen, Chris Rogers, Rory Lampe, Broderick Stanaway each collected a hit in the win. Taylor Brenneman led the offense going 2-for-3 as the Olympians tallied six runs on Chase Reynolds in the four innings the Bulldog arm was in pitching. Reynolds did strike out before yielding to Luke Killinger in the fifth inning.
West Albany rallied in the second and third innings however after going down 4-0. Pulling to within one of Sprague with Simon Mathios scoring in the second inning and RBI hits from Reynolds and Killinger in the third inning to make things a tad bit more uncomfortable for Jackson Muth on the bump.
Nonetheless though, Muth responded. Retiring the next 12 batters and 14 of the final 16 as he finished with 10 strikeouts in a complete game performance at Memorial Field in Albany.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, I’m never nervous…but I had to bear down and start to pay more attention to each pitch and bear down and go after it,” Muth said about the one-run lead. “This is a big game. (West Albany) is probably the best 5A team in the State if not one of them. To play against a team like that, it’s a good feeling.
“It shows that we have a lot of potential to do something like that and it’s good to build our confidence and ability to keep in ballgames.”
Sprague returns to Salem Friday, but will be on the road once more when they’ll play rival South Salem at 5pm at Gilmore Park.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald