By Jeremy McDonald
SPRINGFIELD, Ore.– After a slow start to his outing Monday night at the Hamlin Sports Complex in Springfield in which he, and the Withnell Dodger defense surrendered an early run in Game one of their doubleheader with the Emerald Challengers, West Salem’s Brody McMullen settled in. The recently graduated Titan pitcher and his defense held the Challengers to that one run over the course of the nearly five innings McMullen pitched.
Going four-and-two-third innings, McMullen struck out six and allowed only two hits in the tough 4-3 defeat to the defending American Legion Triple-A State Champions that gave his team an opportunity to build themselves a 3-1 lead going into the bottom half of the seventh inning.
“The first couple of innings were a struggle, but then I figured it out and started to find a good sequence and everything like that and it paid off. Started to get quick innings,” McMullen said. “We were making a lot of plays and I feel like their only hits were really bloopers. We were playing really solid defense and our pitchers were doing really well, it just towards the end of the game I feel like we started to get too comfortable maybe. I don’t know, we just got to stay in the game the whole time.”
The Challengers didn’t go away with a fight, scoring three runs in the bottom half of the inning to steal the victory from the Dodgers. Emerald carried the momentum into the second game with a 3-0 lead, providing a good test for Withnell for the remainder of the season ahead of them.
“They’re a good team over there and know they got good hitters, they won State last year so it’s good competitiveness for these two games and know that we’re in with these games against these teams and we just got to play to their caliber,” McMullen said.
Sprague’s Avery Wilson went 2-for-3 in the doubleheader opener Monday. The Olympians’ Brandon Stinnett collected two hits in Game 2 and three overall in the twin-bill on the road as the Challengers took Game 2 5-2. Will Hassoun and Chris Rogers each drove in runs for Withnell.
Hassoun and Taylor Brenneman each drove in a run in Game 1.
The Dodgers head to Roseburg on Thursday for a four-day tournament.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald