(This article was originally published on JMcDonaldMedia.com)
By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– South Salem Head Coach Max Price joked after the game that this game took years off his life. It probably did for everyone at the ballpark in the Saxons walk-off 9-5 win over West Salem Wednesday afternoon
Entering the bottom half of the seventh inning, with two outs on the board, the Titans were up 5-3 thanks in part to back-to-back solo homeruns by Kaden Reidhead and Colby Albee that had fellow Mountain Valley Conference and the MVC-Champs on the ropes down to their final breathe.
“It was fun, just having that energy in the dugout. Everyone was happy, jumping all around. It was really cool to see that, we haven’t done that all season long,” said Reidhead, who had two Homeruns in the game. “That was really fun.”
Braden Allison, who pitched six-and-two-third innings for West Salem, got South Salem’s offense off their game and held them to just three runs in the fourth while striking out five in the start. For a squad that graduated 12 seniors from their semi-finalist team in 2018, it was hard to phantom them being in this position at the beginning of the season.
“Last year we’ve lost 12 seniors and we’ve had a lot of new guys coming into the program, coming up from JV…everyone’s bought in and just played for each other and did their job,” said Allison.
You saw that with the Saxons, coming down to their final out of the season, their High School careers even as Seniors Sean Alvarado and Ryan Brown drove in RBI runs to tie the game. Alvarado’s steal attempt at home from third allowed the Titans to possibly get back into the lead.
Price told his guys that seventh inning, whatever happens, happens and that he was proud of them nontheless.
“It’s a really fun group of seniors and just an awesome group of guys overall. I talked to a few of them on base in the bottom of that seventh inning about how proud I am of them and whatever happened, happened,” said Price.
“Obviously incredibly proud of all of them to be able to extend their year. I’m super happy for Kaiden getting another opportunity to come through again for us. I think it’s his third or fourth walk-off of the year, it was awesome.”
Brown, who came in for relief for Noah Ferguson an out into the seventh inning following Albee’s homerun, shut down West Salem offense in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings as both teams fought for each other against one another.
“It wasn’t so much as winning as to have our teammates backs. When Noah goes down, gets out of the game because he gets two bombs off of him, I’m going to come in there and shove for him,” said Brown. “I’m going to come in and hit for the guys who are out there. Kaiden (Doten) strains his back stretching for us. Everyone does what they can with the injuries they have.”
West Salem went to the pin with Hector Amador and Kyle Kronenberg in the eighth and the ninth innings respectively, but South Salem in the bottom half of the ninth inning as they loaded the bases against the sophomore in Kronenberg with two outs.
Doten came up to the plate with emotions in the air and took his first pitch devlieverd by Kronenberg for a walk-off Grand Slam to set up a Saxon-West Linn match-up in the Quarterfinals.
“Our team has a lot of fight. I was kind of scared for a bit but I trust my guys. I trust my guys to come through, it’s a team effort. One guy doesn’t perform, that means the whole team,” said Doten. “If the other dudes don’t score, I can’t do that. Those runs are just as important as mine, everyone contributed as much as I did.”
West Linn defeated Bend 1-0 as the Lions come down to Gilmore Field Friday at 5pm.