By Jeremy McDonald
MILL CITY, Ore.– In a year, the Santiam baseball team have made a nice little turnaround. A relatively young team last Spring during the six-week season, the Wolverines have nearly tripled their win total 12 games into this season as they sit 8-4 overall following their 15-2 win over Colton Wednesday.
The group of seniors, points Matt Brady, have been the vocal point this year as Santiam looks to get into the 2A/1A postseason as they did back in 2019. That year they snapped a 24-year drought that dated all the way back to the 1990’s.
“I think it’s this group of seniors. We’ve been playing forever and for it to being our senior year…everyone’s really cranking up and not wanting to lose this and we really want to end this on a bang,” Brady said.
The senior being Brady got the nod to start the game Wednesday. Going four innings of no-hit baseball with four strikeouts before handing over the mound to Mason Henness.
But Santiam had to overcome the adversity of the weather in the opening inning. The rain made it difficult for Brady to grip and throw the ball in the rainstorm that made it’s way up from Salem as the Vikings took a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the first inning.
“The first inning, it was tormenting rain. It was bad. It was more the weight than the slickness with the difference in weight of the balls and it throws your whole arm mechanics all off,” Brady described the first inning.
The rain came and went in waves Thursday with Brady and his defense settling in over the next three innings, giving their offense an opportunity to take the lead. Three runs in the first inning gave them a 3-2 lead before an eruption took place in the second with 12 runs being plated to give the Wolverines a 15-2 cushion going into the third inning.
Of those 15 runs, seven were driven in by Gaven Lyon. All while going 3-for-3 hitting. Jon Pennick and Logan Hays each went 2-for-3 with 2RBI’s with the offense clicking from their first opportunity at the plate in the 2A/1A Special District 2 game.
“We’ve been struggling trying to get the bats going and starting with the bats lately. We’ve been waiting until the fourth or fifth inning to really get going, but today I think we got the bats going really the whole way,” Lyon said.
With Kennedy on Monday, they’ll need to do what Western Christian did and play a sound and complete game on both sides of the ball. With the series with the Trojans coming up and the Pioneers on the other side of the series, it’s going to be huge to build from this game Thursday as they sit behind Kennedy, Western and Culver in the league standings.
“(Today) was definitely a tune-up game for us trying to get ready for Kennedy with Kennedy being the powerhouse that they are. We got to stay sharp for them,” Lyon said. “We got to get the bats going from right from the beginning. That’s how we’re going to compete with Kennedy is getting the bats going right from the beginning.”
The first pitch Monday is scheduled for 4:30pm at Mount Angel.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald