By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Kennedy rose to the occasion in their first test of the young season when they were facing a scrappy Regis squad Thursday afternoon on the road. Ethan Kleinschmit was dealing, picking up where he left off last Spring when he pitched four innings of no-hit baseball with 11 strikeouts, keeping the Ram batters at bay in Regis’ home and season opener before he handed things over to Andrew Cuff in the fifth inning of their 5-2 victory on this day.
Overall it looked as if, despite losing three seniors from last year’s victory, that they hadn’t missed a beat as they’re now embracing that they will be facing everyone’s best efforts moving ahead into the remainder of the season.
“When we go out there 1,2,3 on them, we know we’re in the game. We got a shot no matter what…we just gotta keep getting better because other teams are coming after us. When everyone’s giving us their best, we have to come out and do our best. We’ve only had one practice on the field so far, so we’ve been doing the dirty work in the gym right now and getting it done,” Kleinschmit said.
The Rams know that they were facing probably the 2A/1A State Pitcher of the Year this season in Kleinschmit, knowing that they won’t see a lot of pitchers similar to the Trojan senior this Spring. But to see that kind of talent and still have a chance in this one was a good sign out of the gate. Going to the final out, Regis had the bases loaded with the go-ahead run at the plate. Knowing one crack of the bat would have completed the comeback they were hoping for as they were once down 5-0 to Kennedy going into the bottom half of the seventh inning. It was in this same game too that they had the Trojans limited to one run through the first three innings and held those bats to one crooked-number inning in the fourth of three runs. All while having one hit in the game, a fourth inning single by Haden Gough that broke up the no-hitter.
“We came out of the gates rough. We saw one of the best pitchers in all of 2A, it was a challenge. Bright side, we saw him and we won’t see much better than that. It’s only going to help us as a team, they’re one of the best teams in the State and we’re only going to get better from here,” Haden Gough said. “If we go out tomorrow ready to avenge ourselves…we had a lot of strikeouts today. Too many. Too many looking strikeouts as well. If we can clean that up, put the ball in play, we’ll be very solid tomorrow against Scio.”
Cuff and Charlie Beyer led Kennedy with 2RBI’s each on two hits each. Luke Beyer and Matt Hopkins each also had two hits in the victory as the Trojans will play host to Warrenton Saturday at 2pm.. Max Eaton and Bryson Nygren each struck out four for the Rams, who will host the Loggers Friday at 4:30pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald