By Jeremy McDonald
SILVERTON, Ore.– The question became down the stretch in Silverton’s 9-6 win over West Salem to close out non-league play was who will have more stops defensively with how each squads offenses were rolling?
The Titans matched the Foxes three-run first inning with a three-run inning of their own in the top of the second inning. Silverton raised West Salem another two, thanks to Jacob Orban scoring off a wild pitch in the bottom half of the second inning.
Orban scores again in the fourth inning to expand the Foxes lead to 5-3 as Carson Waples kept the Titan from scoring going into the fifth inning.
“(This game) means a lot because Corvallis is our first (Mid-Willamette Conference) match-up and they’re not going to be easy. To end preseason on a win is a really good thing and I think we’re going into league strong,” Waples said. “It shows that we have to play good and we can stick with anyone if we keep the bats going and play good defense.
“We’re looking forward to league and especially Corvallis.”
West Salem, who will close out non-league play Tuesday against Redmond before a Mountain Valley Conference doubleheader on April 16 with Bend, answered in the top half of the fifth in Waples final inning of the game pitching.
A Carter Howard double, Brody McMullen started the inning as Matthew Luke drove Howard home. Trey Ward loaded up the bases thanks to a hit-by-pitch. Carter Lesh (sacrifice fly RBI) and a bases loaded hit-by-pitch during Jeremiah Pinkerton’s at-bat had gave West Salem the lead for the first time up 6-5.
“I’ve seen a lot of improvement with our team from the start of the season until now. We’ve gotten the bats rolling and we’re starting to play more as a team,” the Titans Luke said. “It’s getting us ready for league. We’re seeing new faces, seeing how everyone does things and it’s getting us ready for league and as a team overall.”
It was the second three-run inning that West Salem had as they had a three-run inning back earlier in the game.
And though momentum was hanging in the balance again as Silverton went to the bullpen with Orban and Mucken in the fifth and sixth inning, the steady stream of hits and runs by the Foxes backed their defense to snap their three-game skid going into league.
“Every single stop on defense helped us, it pushed us ahead for the next inning. We were able to respond to defensive plays with our bats in every inning,” Silverton’s Mucken said. “We were racking up a couple hits every inning and it really helped our defense to be confident and to have a buffer behind us.
“It allowed us to play a little more comfortable, but confident at the same time that was the key to success today.”
Mucken went 4-for-4 hitting while striking out two in a inning of work for Silverton. Waples had a game-high five strikeouts in five innings. Tyler Rock drove in 2RBI’s and Evan Faust struck out two in two-and-a-third innings for the Titans.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald