By Jeremy McDonald
MILL CITY, Ore.– If Santiam just cleans up the little things, but keeps the same intensity as they did Tuesday against Kennedy, this group will be dangerous come next Spring in 2A/1A.
They went into the game with the uncertainty of what was to come from the Trojan 10, but the Wolverines had the mentality that they had nothing to lose. Kennedy only had gone the distance once all year, to Colton last Wednesday.
But Santiam made sure that the Vikings weren’t the only one this season. Holding one of the State’s best offenses to a season-low eight runs in the Trojans 8-0 road victory in a Rocky versus Apollo-like battle. The youth of the Wolverines with their freshman against the grizzly veterans and Seniors of Kennedy in front of them.
“Coming out with such a young and inexperienced team, all of our heads were in it before the game. We all talked to each other and eased each other’s nerves because we’ve got a few who haven’t faced anything like that,” said Santiam’s Grace Lindemann. “We were on the same page when we went out there that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. We went out there and played with everything we got and showed that we are a competitor.”
Lindemann and Maddie Forste had the lone Varsity experience as freshman arm McKenna Dodge went up against the hot arm of Jenna Hopkins. Both defenses made plays. The Trojans picked up a run here, a run there, but nothing like their games against North Douglas, St. Paul, Gervais where they broke it out early.
Kennedy had to rely on their defense as the spunky Wolverine team was not backing down from them. The lone downside for the young Santiam squad was that they gave too many free bases, seven walks and ten hit batters outside of limiting the Trojans to seven total hits.
“It was definitely a good challenge for us. Jenna’s pitching really kept us in the game. We did alright hitting, we could’ve been better but it’s something we can work on,” said the Trojans Lydia Berning, who went 3-for-4 with 2RBI’s in the win. “Defense really kept us in the game. Hailey (Arriotla) made some plays, so did Elise (Suing). Our infield did great and Jenna’s pitching did too.”
Berning and Kelsey Kleinschmit combined to account for five of Kennedy’s hits. Hopkins struck out 17 in seven innings as Lindemann had a few pick-off moves from her catcher position. Not to mention a 1-4 double play to end the sixth inning, turning a fly-off to a pick-off at second. The lone ‘hammer’ inning offensively for Kennedy was a four-run fifth inning with the Wolverines recovering down the stretch. Dodge struck out one in four innings before Savannah Fields-Boedigheimer took over the last part of the game.
“It was intense, I know I was nervous. We’re a young team and I know they were nervous,” Forste said of her team. “To have them play the way they did against this kind of team, it was amazing. It was amazing, we went into the game…without any pressure and did our thing and were able to fight and be able to keep going. Keep our heads up every inning even when they were hitting it and we were walking, got bases loaded. For us to come back and get a couple of outs and only give them a couple of runs.”
Forste broke-up Hopkins’ no-hit bid in the seventh with a lead-off single, but the Wolverines couldn’t break the shutout in their final three outs as they traveled to Gervais Thursday. The Trojans are at Gladstone Wednesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald