By Jeremy McDonald
INDEPENDENCE, Ore.– Central-Grad and current Chemeketa Community College pitcher Brandon Komes set the pace for the Post 20 Dirtabgs Monday afternoon at Central High School when they hosted the Las Vegas Aces 18U Gold team for a double header.
Komes, pitching the first game, held the Nevada squad scoreless going into the sixth inning. Komes went six-and-two-third innings, striking out seven in the opening game 3-2 victory against the Aces.
The defense played well behind him in what started off as a pitching duel through the opening three innings, matching that of Wyatt Sheenan with Las Vegas. Komes’ offense fought for the two runs that did get against the Sheenan stronghold. Jeremiah Pinkerton (West Salem) drove in a run off an infield RBI single in the bottom half of the fourth inning and added to their lead in the sixth inning thanks to a Tyler Rock (West Salem) sacrifice fly that drove in a run to set-up a nice cushion going into the seventh.
“It felt really good, I trust these guys a lot and I have a lot of faith in my defense. It shows when they make the diving plays in the outfield…my plan is to let them put the ball in play and I trust my guys to make the plays and it paid off in the end,” Komes said. “It was huge. This was one of the better teams that we’ve played so far. We lost a tough one to the Barbers, so it was great to be able to bounce back and come walk this one off.”
It was a mental test as well as the Dirtbags were coming off a tough nine-inning defeat to the Portland Barbers Sunday 5-4 in Portland as it came down to the wire once more Monday. Fatigue began to sink in for Komes in the top half of the seventh as the Aces loaded up the bases, eventually tying the game up at two before a throw-out at home kept the game tied going into the bottom half of the inning.
But the Dirtbags duge deep after the great play at home as Andrew Todd (West Salem) got on base and made his way around to third base before McMinnville’s Kade Weeks drove in the game-winning run thanks to a blooper single to lift Post 20 over the Aces in the doubleheader opener.
“The biggest thing for us was to focus on our best and just to calm ourselves down a little bit and not make the moment bigger than it was. Komie (Komes) played a great game on the bump for us, came out and shoved the first six innings and then Mal(achi McCormick) came in the last inning. We let up a few runs but we didn’t let it hurt us,” Weeks said. “We came back in, Todd got on base for us and worked his way over to third and I was able to hit him in on a blooper single. So it worked out really well for us.”
McCormick came into the game in the seventh with two outs on the board and got the last out before starting the second game of the doubleheader.with the Dirtbags built a 5-2 lead going into the fifth inning. The Las Vegas squad began to rally, scoring the next four runs to take Game 2 of the doubleheader 6-5 Monday.
The Dirtbags are off until June 27 when they open Area-3 League play with a doubleheader with the Corvallis Marketmen at Central High School
Photos By Jeremy McDonald