By Jeremy McDonald
ORTLAND, Ore.– South Salem-Grad and former Chemeketa first baseman Kaiden Doten is entering the twilight of his baseball career with at least four more games left with the Portland Gherkins. Three regular season games and at least one in the four-team Wild Wild West League.
Baseball has been his life, having played it since coming out of the womb Doten joked following Saturday night’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Rosebuds.
“Ah man, it’s tough. I’ve been playing it and I love it, but have to hang it up at some point. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” Doten said. “Baseball is always going to be in my life. Whether it’s working with athletes or just playing some slow-pitch softball, something like that and being out on the field and competing.”
Doten is currently studying physiology and hoping to give back to the game as a trainer here in the near-future as he drew a walk in his opening at-bat of the game.
McNary’s Carl Rumbaugh went toe-to-toe with Rosebud’s Evan Olson, both going four innings with Rumbaugh striking out four before handing the reins over to Bryant Raeburn for the next three innings. The Gherkins fell behind 1-0 before Newberg’s and current Western Oregon University-player Jacob Maiben drove in the tying run, driving in twin brother Derek following his triple the at-bat before.
Both defense’s held strong, allowing three runs total despite giving up 12 hits.
Kennedy’s Dylan Kleinschmit came in for his second pitching performance in the eighth inning, striking four in two innings. One of four relatively new local faces on the diamond on this evening as McKay’s Dillan Brady (0-4) and Sprague’s Carson VanKempen (1-5) were the Designated Hitters for the Gherkins and Rosebuds respectively.
South Salem’s Tyler Minney returned to his infield roots playing third while seeing four plate appearances himself. Calling this opportunity, a leg-up as he, VanKempen, Brady and Kleinschmit enter the college ranks this upcoming school year.
“It’s nice to see what our competition will be for the next couple of years. It was also kind of hard to switch from Legion to this but it was a lot of fun,” Minney, who played with the Rosebuds Saturday, said. “I feel like we kind of get an advantage seeing our opponents and one-step towards making us more ready.”
But a timely hit, a ninth-inning, two-out single by Mexico City’s Moises Congo, was the deciding factor in the 2-1 win. For the Gherkins (7-6), they’re coming down to the finish line of the season battling with the Willamette Wild Bills (8-5-1) and the Gresham Greywolves (5-5-2) for seeding with the Rosebuds (5-8-1) sitting behind them at fourth with three regular season games left.
“I know we got what it takes and we got to play to our full potential. I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll come through,” “Our defense came through for us tonight. We got a good team.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald