By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Clutch seemed to be the word of the day as the Post 58 Crushers and the Withnell Dodgers split their two games Wednesday at Regis High School.
Clutch defense in Game 1, the second game of the three-game series, played into the Crushers favor as Cascade’s Grayson Reeder’s clutch 2RBI double helped Post 58 in their 2-1 victory.
Both teams traded the figurative body shots in the series finale in Game 3 as both teams wanted that all important league win and series win.
Kennedy’s Dylan Kleinschmit showed why he was one of the best arms in 2A for the Crushers. Going five innings with six strikeouts against Withnell’s Grant Strother, who pitched much of the final five innings of the eight-inning game in relief of Quinn Altman and Broderick Stanaway.
“We knew coming into the second game we had the same league record (at 4-1). So we really wanted to be on top and with it being such a close game with us scoring, them scoring, us scoring,” Kleinschmit said. “Everyone was nervous out there trying not to mess up. We all played well, we couldn’t quite get it done at the end.”
It’s what you would hope for as both teams wrapped up their second league series of the year. Playoff feel. Playoff atmosphere and having to play through it as the game was tied at five through four innings played.
“After the first game we realized that we needed to barrel down and take care of business. That second game was kind of a wake-up call for us to come out and take care of things. Energy was definitely there in the second game today,” Sprague’s Chris Rogers said.
Rogers was one of four Dodgers to collect an RBI and one of six batters to get a hit against the Crushers defense. Jefferson’s DJ Krider led all batters with a 4-for-5 day and St. Paul’s TJ Crawford drove in game-high 2RBI’s.
But little miscues had left a promising offensive and defensive game dampening the Crushers in Game 3 as four errors allowed Withnell to hang around with both teams trading zeros in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. A polar opposite from Tuesday’s 10-1 game at Willamette University.
“It was huge, they rattled a bunch of runs yesterday and today we came out with a different focus, a different mindset. Just trying to rally the bats for as long as we could,” Krider said.
Post 58 collected ten hits in Game 3 of the series.
The game went into extras after it couldn’t be decided in regulation. The Olympians Taylor Brenneman had a groundout RBI to hand Withnell the lead, they soon added to it with a pass ball run.
Quickly the Crushers loaded up the bases. Reeder drove in a run to cut a then 7-5 lead to 7-6, forcing the Dodgers to turn to Eli Lowe with the Cougars Caleb Boyles coming to the plate. After an eight-pitch battle, Lowe got Boyles to fly-out to Carson Vankempen to end the game.
“It was a big deal because we were playing slowly on defense, so we had to try to do everything to try and scrape to get runners in. Those two runs came in big for us in that last inning,” said Brenneman. “It’s a good series win. It gives us some good confidence going into the next series.”
The Dodgers enter a three-game series with the Mid-Coast Dungies this weekend. Saturday at Willamette while they play two at Newport High School Sunday. Post 58 travels to Bend for a game on Sunday and Monday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald