By Jeremy McDonald
MCMINNVILLE, Ore.– In a game where defense reigned supreme, all it took was one hiccup to decide the difference in it. A hiccup that favored the traveling Sprague Olympian baseball team in their 4-3 victory over McMinnville.
A hiccup at second allowed what could’ve been an out during Grant Strother’s RBI single, who was looking to push it into a double, allowed what should’ve been one run to score into two. Turning what was initially a 2-2 ball game going into the at-bat into a 4-2 lead by play’s end.
Brady Muth, who scored the initial run in the two-run play, pointed towards them having fun playing the game sure, but when it came down to getting down to work they were ready. And in a game like the one they were in on Thursday, they had to be ready to grind and stay with it. Knowing that one or two plays could decide the game like it did, especially with the Grizzlies cutting the game back to one after a Morgan Ronning single in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
“We have a lot of fun playing baseball, we’re out there to have fun, but when it comes down to it we’re ready to grind. So a game like that, where it’s just one-run could be the difference, it’s important and we all came together at the right time and good things happened,” Muth said. “A wise man once told me that ‘we play the game, not the occasion’. It’s just another game for us. We got some good momentum on our end and we’re going to go out and play our baseball, play our game and whatever happens, happens.”
Both teams rolled with the punches throughout. Offenses were able to come in spurts, both teams scoring twice in the third inning to break the 0-0 tie and creating the 2-2 tie they had found themselves in prior to the sixth inning. Pitching was spot on as Gryson Seehawer went six-and-two-thirds with eight strikeouts to Eli Lowe’s four-and-a-third innings pitched on 51 pitches as the Sprague defense backed up their pitchers in the game.
But, despite the excitement of how close this game was, it did come with its nerves. Something that faded away following getting their first out as Lowe got B. Mix to ground out after an eight-pitch at-bat with Sprague turning the one-two-three inning to close out the 4-3 victory.
“A lot of nerves, it was a close game and there’s always going to be nerves that come in a close game. I think we handled it well, we went out in the bottom of the seventh and the whole team handled it well. Henry (Mhoon) made a play out at center and Jace (Dalton) made a play out in right, we handled it well to shut the door in that last inning,” described Lowe of that last half inning.
Sprague will be off until Tuesday when they’ll start their three-game series with McNary out in Keizer.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald