Grizzlies burn Indians
Deficits don’t faze them.
Those of two runs or fewer, anyway. When Roseburg’s Brady Carhart hit an RBI triple in the second inning Friday, scoring Brady Fuller, McMinnville baseball found itself trailing 1-0 and needing to respond.
“We’re young, but most of the guys have varsity playing experience,” junior Riley McAnally said. “We’re never in the dugout nervous or back on our heels.”
The Grizzlies responded with three runs in the bottom of the second inning and six more in the fourth inning to defeat the Indians, 9-2, in Class 6A nonleague play at the McMinnville Baseball Field at Patton Middle School.
McMinnville (2-0) had 10 hits off Roseburg pitchers Brady Fuller (the game’s losing pitcher) and Isaac Hartwick, though the Grizzlies also benefited from eight defensive errors by the Indians.
David Brosius went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Zach Rhoads went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Grizzlies often swung at Fuller’s first offering, with great success – six batters had hits on the first pitch of the at-bat, with three more reach base on an error.
“He always came with that first-pitch fastball,” Rhoads said. “We put it in play and gave a good team effort.”
In the bottom of the second inning, Cameron Fox reached on an error and McAnally sacrificed him over to second base. Lane Hessel reached first base on an error that allowed Fox to score, and Brosius sent him home with an RBI double.
No more deficit.
The Grizzlies’ fourth inning was a mélange of three hits, four Indians errors, one hit batter (Hessel), a balk call on Fuller that advanced two runners, and an RBI groundout for Sam Swenson. One of the hits was a safety squeeze by Adrian Uscanga; Rhoads slid in under the tag to score.
“Our game plan is first and foremost, teams know we’re going to bunt, hit and run, play a small-ball game,” coach Jordan Harlow said. “That’s what the guys did.”
McAnally exerted control over the top halves of innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk but striking out six and working out of a fourth-inning jam with two runners in scoring position.
“We emphasized first-pitch strikes and that’s what he did,” Harlow said. “He did a nice job. He’s going to have guys put the ball in play. The defense doesn’t get stagnant.
Sophomore Kade Mechals relieved McAnally and encountered trouble in the seventh inning – walking three Roseburg (0-2) batters and allowing a run – but worked his way out of it to preserve the victory.
“One of those things we’re always kind of conscious of is, are guys going to coast?” Harlow said. “We didn’t do that.”
“Every time some kid hit a line drive, they’d go into the dugout, let anger out a little, then went out and got it done,” Rhoads said.
McMinnville travels to Keizer tomorrow for the four-day Volcanoes Spring Tournament, first facing Class 5A Willamette of Eugene at 4 p.m. It is the first of seven games for the Grizzlies in an eight-day span.
“It’ll be a good test,” Harlow said. “We’ll kind of see how we do with some endurance.”
Seven games, eight days
Wednesday: McMinnville vs. Willamette in Keizer, 4 p.m.
Thursday: McMinnville vs. Summit in Keizer, 4:30 p.m.
Friday: McMinnville vs. Cleveland in Keizer, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: McMinnville vs. TBD in Keizer, TBD
March 31: McMinnville at North Eugene, 4:30 p.m.
April 1: Central Catholic at McMinnville, 4:30 p.m.
April 2: Grant at McMinnville, 4:30 p.m.