Firmly in command
Entering a stretch of six baseball games in eight days – including three in a row to close out its week – the McMinnville baseball team could be forgiven for general fatigue.
Nevertheless, the Grizzlies stayed sharp to the very end Wednesday afternoon, as timely hitting and a strong outing by Riley McAnally on the mound led to a 5-0 victory against Class 6A nonleague foe Grant at the McMinnville baseball field at Patton Middle School.
“These guys, the nice thing is, they’re starting to make adjustments on their own,” coach Jordan Harlow said.
The visitors’ half of the first inning started ominously enough, as the Generals (2-5) loaded the bases with two outs. McAnally induced a fielder’s choice to end the inning, and stayed in control the rest of the way. The junior ended up with four strikeouts and one walk issued in 6.0 innings pitched.
McAnally allowed just one hit and no walks after the first inning, as Grant’s Jonas Hanna led off the seventh inning with a single. Harlow then replaced McAnally on the mound with Ryan Dix, who closed out the game.
“Whether you know baseball or not, that says it all,” Harlow said. “(McAnally) was pretty darn good today. That’s what we expect and that’s what he delivers.”
David Brosius and the McMinnville hitters kept Grant out of the game.
Brosius singled in Zach Rhoads for the first run of the game in the first inning and then doubled in Rhoads in the fifth inning as part of a 2-for-3 day.
“The thing with him is, he’s such a competitor and he expects so much of himself,” Harlow said of Brosius. “It’s great for his confidence. He’s got a great approach right now.”
Kade Mechals hit an RBI single to plate Cameron Fox in the second inning, and Fox (who finished the game 0-for-1 with two runs scored) stole home in the fourth inning as Kyle Casey distracted the Generals by trying to steal second base.
Grant pitcher Andrew Marriott allowed eight hits and three walks in the complete-game loss. Marriott also committed a throwing error on a ground ball by Rhoads that allowed Mac catcher Garret Adams to score in the fifth inning. One batter later, Brosius compounded Marriott’s error with his RBI double.
The Grizzlies (6-1) open up Class 6A Pacific Conference play against Tigard at the McMinnville baseball field … but not until Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
It’s a needed rest break, even as the Grizzlies continue to roll.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge, not only physically but mentally – how are these guys going to handle this Minor League Baseball-type schedule?” Harlow said.
“These guys, eat, sleep and love baseball.”
Central Catholic 4, McMinnville 3
Was Zach Rhoads safe or out at third base?
McMinnville baseball fans figured he was safe, and, indeed, Rhoads appeared to slide in for a leadoff triple in the seventh inning under Central Catholic third baseman Holden Oglesbee’s tag. The home plate umpire ruled that Oglesbee’s tag – applied after a major-league throw from Sam Muskat in right field – was in time.
Rhoads was left with a double – he finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored – but the Grizzlies were left with a missed opportunity in a 4-3 loss to the Class 6A Rams Tuesday afternoon at the McMinnville baseball field at Patton Middle School.
Aside from Rhoads and David Brosius’ strong offensive days – Brosius hit an RBI double in the third inning – the Grizzlies were limited at the plate by Central Catholic ace Cole Stringer. The Rams junior scattered six hits and three walks over the seven innings, striking out four and keeping seven Mac runners on base.
Tyson Cooper and Anthony Brink each went 1-for-3 with two RBI for the Rams, (5-1-1) who scored two runs in the third inning and two in the fifth inning. Muskat finished the day 2-for-3.
McMinnville clawed to within 4-3 as a pair of errors in the sixth inning allowed Cameron Fox to score from first base. After Rhoads was thrown out to open the seventh inning, Brosius was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base before being stranded.
Kade Mechals (4 2/3 innings pitched, six hits, four runs allowed, eight strikeouts) absorbed the loss for McMinnville.
McMinnville 10, North Eugene 8
EUGENE – Sam Swenson went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and two RBI, and Zach Rhoads hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning at the Class 6A Grizzlies survived a stern test from the Class 5A Highlanders at North Eugene High School on Monday.
McMinnville trailed 5-4 entering the fourth inning when Adrian Uscanga hit a two-run double and Swenson followed with an RBI double to give the Grizzlies a two-run lead. North Eugene (2-4) responded with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead back.
Swenson hit an RBI triple in the sixth inning to tie the game at eight.
Grizzlies freshman Wyatt Smith earned the victory in relief, allowing two hits and no runs in 3 2/3 innings.