By Jeremy McDonald
ROSEBURG, Ore.– The Post 58 Crushers had the daunting task of taking on a Hillsboro Barbers team that had only lost eight times in 39 games and are front-runners for the American Legion Triple-A State Title going into the Field of eight Saturday morning.
But even with that kind of pressure to perform, the Crushers stepped up to the challenge at Bill Gray Legion Stadium at Campion Car Wash Field in Game 1 of the game.
Cascade’s Caleb Boyles anchored the defense, his ability to pound the zone allowed the strong bats of the Barbers to put it in play. His defense made enough clutch plays to limit runs as Post 58 found themselves down 5-2 going into the top half of the fifth inning. The two runs came off of errors in the second inning that had then tied the game up at two apiece before Hillsboro regained the lead.
“It just shows that we can hang with anybody here. It was a blast. It was a fun game, most fun game I’ve played,” said an emotional Boyles post-game.
Boyles went five-and-two-thirds pitching that included back-to-back shutout innings in the fourth and fifth innings that Post 58 eventually cashed in on. More so in the fifth inning when incoming Silverton sophomore Sawyer Enderle hit a solo, one-out home run that sparked a four-run inning to push the Crushers ahead of the Barbers. Regis’ Tanner Manning added to the lead with an RBI Single in the top half of the sixth.
“The pressure was really, really on and the fact that we can rally and get four runs in that inning, it was huge. It really made our mental ability to stay in it way higher,” Enderle described the fifth inning.
Post 58 got two quick outs to start the bottom half of the sixth inning. But that is when Hillsboro made their move. Methodically, it seemed like the Barbers chipped away at the momentum that the Crushers had built and had taken the lead for good with a five-run sixth inning to swing momentum back fully into their favor.
But in defeat, they still got a chance through the loser’s bracket to make it back to the State Championship Game as they await the loser of the Emerald Challengers and Withnell Dodgers Sunday morning at 10am.
“It’ll be huge to flush it and just get rid of it. Come out with the same energy like the fifth inning, it was intense,” Enderle said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald