(This article was originally published on JMcDonaldMedia.com)
By Jeremy McDonald
BEAVERTON, Ore.– It’s been an incredible run by the West Salem baseball team to be one game from the 6A State Championship game when they traveled to the Portland-area to take on Westview High School Tuesday afternoon.
The Titans sat 24-6 on the year, their first 20-win season since 2015 and their 24-wins in a season the most over the past few years to go with their second Greater Valley Conference-Title in four years.
“It was great you know, just being around all the seniors playing since we were young. We’ve all had great chemistry together because we’ve been playing together since sixth grade and it’s been all fun and all,” said Shaun Dhote on getting to this point. “Respect for all the seniors and all the underclassman who came in clutch. It’s going to be exciting to see the underclassman play.
“It was awesome, great ride. Winning the League Championship and it sucked that we were one game short, but that’s baseball you know? It’s life.”
Seniors like him, Grant Thies, Austin Ailstock, Blake Arritola and Logan Johnson picked up their bats and went to work by taking a 1-0 lead entering the bottom half of the second thanks to a sac-hit by Dhote that brought Arritola home.
Lucas Stanfield pitched strong as he had all season long as the junior struck out seven in five innings of work, but the Wildcats took advantage of a few glimpses that Stanfield gave them to take a 4-1 lead entering the sixth inning as Stanfield only surrendered five hits in the game. But their offense couldn’t find their groove out there as they had all season long with
“We didn’t play as ourselves out there, we were rolling over here and there. It happens, you can’t win them all and we didn’t play as ourselves out there as we usually do you know?” said Dhote. “They got hits when they needed to, they had some hits fall down and we didn’t and props to them, they’re a good baseball team.”
But West Salem kept battling in the sixth and seventh innings, contacting the ball and Noor Dhote coming in for relief of Stanfield and keeping the game within reach entering the seventh inning; but the Titans couldn’t make a further dent into the lead that Westview created as their season came to an end four-runs shy of the State Title game.
As they filed out of the dugout and met as a team in the parking lot, waiting to load the buses to head back to Salem, West Salem finished the season 24-7 on the year and reaching to the Semi-final round this season was something special as the seniors on the roster wrapped up their High School careers.
“Words can’t describe it, a terrific group of guys and I wouldn’t want anyone else,” said Logan Johnson. “We knew we were going to be there until the very end, we didn’t give up but it didn’t happen today.”
Arritola and Kaden Reidhead both went 1-for-2 on the day with Noah Juarez going 2-for-3 on the afternoon for the Titans. Noor Dhote struck out one in his one inning of relief.