By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– This was a crazy game. Crazy in how both teams battled to the end. Crazy in that the Marion Berries, who at one point were being no-hit and were down 3-0 going into the bottom half of the fifth inning, rallied to take the American Legion Single-A match-up with the Silverton Bandits Thursday night 6-4 at North Marion High School.
The go-ahead hit, a 2RBI sixth inning Triple by incoming sophomore Will Stafford, handed the Berries a 5-4 lead that was followed by a sacrifice hit by Dawson Schrenk to give the Marion squad some breathing room going into the seventh inning.
“I don’t know, I just went out there and swung. I was stressed (out),” smiled Stafford. “I think we did good. We had some errors, but we pulled it out in the end.”
The Bandits had held the Berries in check for the first four innings of the game. Matter of fact Tyler Millican and Keegan Turcot had held Marion hitless until the bottom half of the fourth inning. Will Van Vlek broke up the no-hitter with a single in the bottom half of the frame with Silverotn leading 1-0 at the time. The difference was a Brett Leday triple way back in the first inning before the Bandits tacked on two more runs in the top half of the fifth inning.
“The energy was up in the dugout. Everybody, everyone was up on the fence cheering everyone on. Our bullpen was treating us well and the guys were coming in throwing strikes and we were making plays in the field,” said the Bandits Max Eaton. “Had good at-bats. Our offense was producing runs and I think that just helped keep the morale in the dugout up.”
The thing about baseball against a good, quality team like the Berries, who are the North Marion High School baseball team, you got to stay with it for the full seven innings because of the quality of your opposition. And for Marion, they made sure they reminded and challenged Silverton in staying consistent for the full seven.
Despite surrendering two bases loaded walks in the top half of the fifth, the Berries responded. Schrenk drove in the first of his 2RBI’s on a single before Will Orr drove in two more on a single that tied the game up at three before the Bandits halted the run.
Bryson Nygren handed Silverton back the lead with a two out RBI Single in the sixth in response, but that was quickly answered by Stafford’s hit to hand the Marion Berries their first lead of the game in the bottom half of the sixth as Carter Reilly came in for the save opportunity.
“You just got to have a killer mindset at that time and I’m just thankful the guys stepped up at the plate. Putting three runs up in the sixth, that’s amazing for them to do that and I got to thank my team for that one,” Reilly said. “I just had to get it out at the end there.”
The Bandits didn’t make the save, the win, simple however. Getting two runners on second and third with two outs and knocking at the door of possibly tying the game up before Reilly shut the door on Silverton with a game-sealing strikeout to clinch the 6-4 win. A win that came on the heels of the Berries falling to the Beaverton Sockeyes Wednesday night, a crucial win to flush out the tough defeat from the night before.
“Oh it’s huge, it just flushes out the bad memories of the loss last night. Getting this win kind of clears the air a little bit and we’re going to come back on Saturday and do what we do and hopefully get a ‘W’ and just play baseball,” Reilly said.
For the Bandits, it’s their turn to try to flush the defeat as they’ll host Tigard for a twin-bill Friday at Davisson Field in Silverton. A great game performance for sure Thursday as they hope to finish their opportunities against Tigard if they’re in those moments again as they look to get back in the win-column.
“To see us flirt with a team of this quality, it was good to see and it makes me excited for the future we have for the team because we had the go-ahead run at the plate and you give yourself a chance and we give ourselves a chance,” Eaton said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald