By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– Through all the adversity, the Post 20 Dirtbags had a chance to do some damage down to their final out of the season.
Central’s Malachi McCormick slowed the Lobos bats in the 31 pitches the Panther-grad pitched after the Lobos rallied from 3-1 down to take a 5-3 lead as they looked to get back to the American Legion Triple-A State Tournament for the first time since 2019.
There was a sense of redemption for the squad after the down year that they had last Summer where the playoff streak for the program was snapped. Almost unheard of for a program of the Dirtbag stature.
“It’s awesome, a lot better than last year and that was the main thing going into this year, I knew we had to make it a lot better and it was definitely a lot better,” McCormick said. “It felt nice to know we redeemed ourselves after last season and made the Dirtbag name something looked forward to as a worthy opponent now.”
Post 20 looked like the Post 20 of old with their grit. Despite not being able to find continuous consistency in their Play-In game with Lobos, the squad’s grit was there as they held their aggressive opposition in check as they went into the Top half of the seventh.
“It was good. There were things that we could’ve gotten better on, like leaving runners on base a lot. We just need to play situational baseball and situational baseball will win us baseball games,” Will Merritt. “We’ll use that next year to win us some more (games).”
It was then where McMinnville’s Braden Woods singled and McKay’s Carlo Cervantes was hit by a pitch with no outs on the board. After back-to-back strikeouts, the Dirtbags drew one last walk with them one play away from tying the game up. And though a game ending strikeout ended a great turnaround season for the squad from the Independence, Dallas, West Salem and McMinnville-area, they left a lasting mark for the squad going into next Summer.
“Last year was miserable, we were 3-32 or something like that. It was not good,” starts Merritt. “This year we started off great and played great baseball. It’s heartwarming because you’re on a good team filled with a bunch of great guys, it’s going to help. This Summer has been really fun, playing with these guys and winning baseball games. It’s always fun, I love this team and loved the guys I’ve played with.”
Merritt led the offense with two hits. West Salem’s Andrew Todd and Tyler Rock each drove in an RBI while Mac’s Woods, Rock and the Titans Joel Spencer all joined Merritt in the hit category with a hit apiece.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald