McMinnville ends regular season this weekend with home baseball
Oregon Mainline Paving plays its final league game at 10 a.m. today at home in the first game of its home tournament. If OMP wins, it will finish second in its league of the OIBA and clinch a spot to the state tournament, which starts July 23 in Tigard and Oregon City. If OMP loses, it will have to a play a three-game series next weekend to earn a spot in the 16-team field.
Wednesday, OMP flashed a newfound versatility that McMinnville’s varsity team didn’t have for much of the spring season. In game one vs. the Warriors — the official league game of the doubleheader — OMP’s bats were quiet. Aloha took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, but Mac responded in the bottom of the inning. With one out and runners on first and second base, Adrian Uscanga laid down a sacrifice bunt. Aloha’s pitcher over threw first base, helping David Brosius and Cameron Fox score.
Uscanga scored Mac’s third run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on a groundout by Ryan Swenson. Mac managed four hits in the game but stole five bases.
“We used some speed on the base paths to put pressure on them because we weren’t getting the job done hitting wise,” Mainline Paving coach Darren Bland said.
Riley McAnally pitched six strong innings for OMP. He allowed five hits and one run and struck out eight batters. Gage Gubrud closed out the game in the seventh inning, walking one batter and striking out three.
“McAnally pitched really well,” Bland said. “Kept the ball down, and Gage came in and struck out three guys which is always fun.”
In the second game, Bland rotated in a lot of fresh players, and OMP responded with six runs in the first two innings. Aloha cut the lead to 6-4 in the fifth inning, but Mac scored four more runs in the bottom of the fifth to distance itself. Drew Spence was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two doubles. Kyler Dickey also had two hits with a triple, as did Gubrud, who was 2-for-2 with a run scored and three RBIs.
Ryan Dix earned the win for OMP. He pitched 4 1/3 innings. He gave up one hit and two runs, walked four and struck out five batters.
Now Mac (24-8) turns its focus to the final regular season weekend of the summer season. It’s hosting eight teams in three-day tournament. Friday, OMP plays at 10 a.m. vs. Newberg, and then ends the day with a 6:15 p.m. game vs. Reynolds at Patton.
Four teams will play today at Linfield’s Roy Helser Field, with games starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, all games are at Patton. Mac plays at 10 a.m. Saturday vs. West Linn. Sunday, each group will be ordered based on record and will be matched up with the team in the other group in the same position.
The last-place teams from each group play at 10 a.m. Sunday. Three vs. three is at 12:45 p.m., followed by the two-vs.-two game. The top team from each group plays the evening game at 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Bland said.
If Mac beats Newberg today, it will still play a three-game series next weekend, but it will be vs. first-place Westview for seeding purposes at the OIBA state tournament. Unlike the rest of the season, though, Bland said his strategy is starting to change. With playoff baseball right around the corner, he’s going to shrink the amount of lineup changes between games, getting his top players more at bats.
“As we go into the playoffs, we’re not going to do what we did today where everyone played in one of the two games,” he said. “We’re going to go after both games with what I think is the best lineup at that point.”