By Jeremy McDonald
INDEPENDENCE, Ore.– As cheesy as it sounds, but a good pitching performance is only good if the pitcher’s defense backs them up. And Stayton’s Cody Leming had just that.
In his five-innings, the incoming Eagle senior threw only 50 pitches in his five-inning performance that resulted in Post 58’s `12-0 win over the Post 20 Dirtbags. The win capped an interesting week for the Crushers that saw them in a pressure cooker of a jam entering their final Area-3 series with the Dirtbags
Post 20 won the first game, had a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2. Here’s where it gets confusing:
Post 58 from the Santiam Canyon had to win one game in the series to avoid the fifth-place, play-in to get to Friday’s Play-in Round for the American Legion Triple-A State Playoffs starting this weekend into next week. Newport that finished 4-8, had the series win over the Crushers, so a Dirtbag sweep would’ve dropped Post 58 to fifth in league. And momentum was against them until they charged back for the 5-4 win Sunday at Regis and the Crushers continued their mojo into Monday’s series finale that put Post 58 in favorable position to finish second in Area-2 if Corvallis lost.
The Marketmen would go on to fall to Withnell Monday night in Corvallis, thus thrusting Post 58 from possible last place to league Runner-Up following Leming’s performance pitching, his defense and the Crusher offense Monday put an icing on the cake of the most important series of the year for the squad
“I got to give all the credit to my defense. They made the plays when they needed to. I can’t throw fifty pitches in five innings if I don’t have guys backing it up on offense too. If we don’t put up ten runs, we don’t play five innings,” said Leming. “I trusted my defense behind me so I can help my guys by getting the ball put in play and I trusted my bats. I mean this team when they’re on, they’re on. I enjoy playing with guys that can put it in play and put up numbers like that.”
Leming struck out four and the Post 58 defense only allowed three hits. Bradon Woods (McMinnville), Carlo Cerevantes (McKay) and Jeremiah Pinkerton (West Salem) had those hits with Post 20 taking fourth in league. The Dirtbags will play the Sherwood Lobos at 7pm in Roseburg and are looking for their first playoff appearance since 2019 when they finished third, falling to the then Eugene Challengers 3-2 in Klamath Falls.
“It’s tough to lose that bad in your last (league) game, especially in a game that you really want to win to help us on Friday. But I think having a tough loss like this, isn’t necessarily good, but will help motivate us that we don’t want to end our season on something like that and that we want to keep going and use it as fuel to get a win on Friday,” West Salem’s Tyler Rock said “It’s a good feeling because last year we didn’t have success at all and to have a chance to get back to State is cool.”
Rock hit one of two home runs in the series, along with Dallas’ Chase Brushe, as Post 20 plays a non-league doubleheader with Corvallis on Tuesday.
The Crushers will finish their season at Madison High School for a non-league doubleheader as they’ll play the Portland Eastside Friday morning at 10am in Roseburg for a playoff berth. Post 58 came close to reaching the bracket last season when they fell in a heartbreaker to the Beaverton Sockeyes in Roseburg as they look to reverse their fortunates this time around.
“Going into this game, we know we can’t go in like many games before…even this one and expect to see average competition. We know that playoffs is a whole another season pretty much,” Leming said. “Going in we know that we need to swing the bats and not make errors and that’s going to be the fate of our games.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald