By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The North Salem-Dallas baseball game came down to executing when you had your opportunities to do so.
Yes the Vikings had their cracks, loading up the bases in the first and fourth innings as well having runners on second and third base, it was the Dragons who were finding ways against Jackson Pearce and Kaden Fitzgerald to plate a few runs. Leading 6-1 going into the seventh behind strong pitching of their own with Jack Strange and Kaden Moore.
“It felt good, holding them and not letting them beat us,” Strange said. “It was huge because we’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past. It’s definitely something to build on and we’re finally coming together as a team.”
“Once we got guys on base, we were hitting the ball better. (Being aggressive) was a big part of the success,” adds Eli Hess. “(The seventh inning) was a big motivation booster out there. We kind of kept going after that. We got to take this energy, take it to the next game and the next game. Keep going.”
Strange had a game-high five strikeouts while freshman Hess had a game-high 4RBI’s that included a three-run home run in the seventh inning, sparking Dallas to turn a five-run lead into a comfortable 11-run lead by innings end.
Confidence has been something that the young North Salem team have been working on throughout this season. There’s moments, like Monday evening, that had them knocking on the door.while they had games like their 2-1 game against Silverton or win over Crescent Valley that made them look like they could be higher up in the Mid-Willamette Conference standings than they currently are.
“It’s confidence really. We’ll start off strong and then there’s that one inning that we end up screwing up and we’re just down the rest of the game. If we keep our head ups, keep our confidence high, we can easily go out and beat the rest of the teams we play,” Pearce said. “It almost felt like we were going to make a comeback (down 6-1), but we definitely need to get those bats started up again. Get the bats hot.”
Hayden Barth drove in North Salem’s second run of the game in the seventh inning off a two-out single after the Viks got two on to start the inning from back-to-back hit batters. Pearce had the other RBI, drawing a base-loaded walk in the fourth that broke a 5-0 deficit. Corbin Torres had the third and final hit for North Salem.
The two teams are scheduled to play again Wednesday in Dallas. The Dragons finish the week at Crescent Valley while the Vikings work in a re-scheduled game with Silverton.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald