By Jeremy McDonald
MT. ANGEL, Ore.– Just like that going into the second inning, Kennedy found themselves down 3-0 to Central Linn in the opening round of the 2A/1A State Playoffs. The Cobras strung together a few hits against Riley Cantu to get the runs across the board before Cantu settled in and allowed his offense to get to work.
“They just did a good job, they hit Riley a little bit. It happens, it’s baseball. They’re a good team and it just made us focus a little bit more, maybe we were a little bit sluggish, but we’re alright. We just had to get into the game and get going,” Brady Traeger said. “And we did, and ended up being nine. It’ll win you a lot of games.”
Cantu hung a zero with the Trojans getting a run back in the bottom of the second off an error at shortstop. Two runs came in during the third inning to knot it up at three entering the fourth. Ethan Kleinschmit came in for relief in the third and continued to lead the defense after Cantu’s second inning.
Kleinschmit struck out six in five innings to Cantu’s three in two with Kennedy’s defense shutting down Central Linn’s run-production for the remainder of the game Tuesday.
“It was good, we didn’t give up anymore runs so our offense can slowly get back into it. We started to get momentum when our first batter got on and then we started to get back into the groove,” Kleinschmit said.
Then the big explosive inning came to fruition. Five-runs in the fifth inning capped by a solo home run by Andrew Cuff over the left field fence that pushed the Trojans lead to 8-3 before the squad added one more insurance run in the sixth to help support their defense.
At this point in the season, any team can be dangerous. Just got to be prepared as now their focus turns to Dufur/South Wasco County Thursday for the right to head to the State Semi-final round
“We just start from the beginning. We can’t be lackluster at all because they’ll all be good. We just got to focus,” Traeger said.
Traeger drove in a team-high 2RBI’s. Cantu, Camryn Biegel, Clay Beter and Cuff all had an RBI each in the victory. Justin Krabill and Aaron Crowell each struck out two for the Cobras in the game.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald