By Jeremy McDonald
MEDFORD, Ore.– Withnell found a way to get it done Sunday morning at the US Cellular Fields against Mudville, relying on their strength in their pitching and defense. Waiting for their offense to come around in the breakfast game before the squad headed back to Salem following the game.
“We just kept on working and kept believing that we were still in the game. We still were, we still had plenty of game left, so we just kept on fighting back,” said North Salem’s Jackson Pierce.
Pierce came in the second inning of the game and pitched the next four, putting the ball in play and letting his defense work behind him.
Down 7-0 after the second inning was a huge task to ask for a relatively young team. But behind their defense, they didn’t allow another run as their offense sputtered to life in their 11-7 win.
Sprague’s Will Hassoun got the Dodgers on the board in the third on a sac-hit, driving in South Salem’s Tyler Minney from third. Minney was a pinch-runner for Salem Academy’s Brandon Reed who had hit a triple earlier in the inning.
Minney drove in a run the next inning as the once seven-run deficit was now down to five going to the fifth inning.
“We got punched in the mouth in the first inning, but we didn’t keep our heads in the sand. We came back, fought and competed,” Sprague’s Brandon Stinnett said. “Our bats haven’t been the hottest the past few games but we found the gaps, they started to get hot and competed.”
The incoming Olympian Junior in Stinnett had two of Withnell’s extra base hits with a double and triple. Reed had the other with a triple.
Stinnett’s triple came in the fifth where he drove two of the Dodgers nine-runs in the inning. An inning in which Withnell turned the tide for good as they took a 11-7 lead into the bottom half of the inning. A welcoming sign as they play Corvallis Tuesday in Corvallis.
“It was a big inning. They made a few little mistakes and we capitalize on them and took advantage of them,” said Stinnett. “It was awesome. You can’t have one part, you can’t have defense, you have to have both of them in the game. We finally got both going today and we ended on top.”
“It was pretty intense. It was really unbelievable to be completely honest, I was kind of lost for words. I’m just lost for words,” adds Pierce with a smile.
Pierce saw one more batter before handing it off to the Saxon’s Andy Ruiz who pitched the final two innings of the game, surrendering a hit in the process.
Stinnett and Hassoun each had 2RBI’s each. Minney had a team-high 3RBI’s for the Dodgers.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald