By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– The drought is over for the Post 58 Crushers. After nine long years, the Crushers are back in the American Legion Triple-A State Tournament.
And it doesn’t surprise no one in the Crusher dugout that the guy leading them to the bracket for the first time since that season had yet another strong outing. Perhaps one of his best of the Summer.
“It’s awesome, I’m not even surprised anymore. It’s almost unfair at this point,” describes Stayton’s Eli Brown. “Put Cody (Leming) on the mound and we know it’s going to be a good game for us out there. He did a great job today and I’m excited to see what we’re going to do moving forward into the tournament.”
Brown’s Eagles teammate in Leming bridge over his 50-pitch performance with the Post 20 Dirtbags to Friday morning’s Play-In game with a complete game, 11-strikeout. Giving his offense a chance to wake-up in the breakfast game Friday.
Not only did Leming pitch well, his pass ball score in the fifth off of steals at second and third had given the Crushers a 2-1 lead following the Portland Eastside tying it up in the top half of the fifth. His bases-loaded triple in the sixth helped his cause on the mound further as Post 58 took full control of the game late.
“We love a good baseball story and I think we’re putting one together right now. We haven’t been to State since 2013 and I think we can do it,” Leming said. “We just need to continue on from here for the rest of our tournament. It’s huge, we knew we could do it and I think having faith in one another gave us the success that we had today.
“Coming out here and putting the bats on the ball was the best part of today.”
That faith and belief was a crucial part of the game Friday morning, more than ever did it pay off in the bottom half of the sixth inning when they scored eight runs in the frame. Turning a tight 2-1 ballgame into a 10-1 lead going down to the final three outs of the game.
Robbie Brockamp (Silverton), Carson Waples (Silverton) and Brown got on base with an error and two singles with no outs. A fielder’s choice and a Nick Frith (Stayton) walk led into Leming’s triple. And slowly the Crushers loaded up the bases again and continued to add to their lead before the long inning ended with 13 batters coming to plate.
“Everyone came together, That kind of brought us up a little bit and going for our bats,” Brown said. “We like being doubted, I’ll tell you that right now…I like to come out tomorrow and see what we can do against (the Barbers) tomorrow. Get the bats going early and hopefully have a good game on the mound. Play solid defense and go try to catch another win.”
Post 58 has a tough challenge ahead of them Saturday morning back at Legion Field in Roseburg with the Barbers, who are one of the presumptive favorites to win the Title this Summer, at 10am in the double-elimination bracket
Photos By Jeremy McDonald