By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

The right to Bear arms

McMinnville baseball coach Jordan Harlow admitted to agonizing over the decision to leave pitcher Kade Mechals in Wednesday’s Class 6A Pacific Conference game against Forest Grove at the McMinnville baseball field at Patton Middle School.

It took some reassuring words from Grizzlies assistant coach Morgan Flint, who calls pitches during the game, to talk Harlow down.

Mechals rewarded his coaches, retiring the last nine batters he faced in a complete-game two-hitter as the Grizzlies defeated the Vikings, 5-2.

“It’s almost like he gets better (as the game goes on),” Harlow said.

Mechals, a sophomore, threw a season-high 101 pitches against Forest Grove (7-7, 2-3 Pacific), striking out eight and walking three. He allowed an RBI double to Vikings pitcher Andrew Thorud in the fourth inning and allowed a second run off a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning but kept his composure late and struck out two batters in the seventh inning.

“My arm feels good,” Mechals said. “A couple of starts at the beginning of the year, I didn’t have the velocity. Today I put it all together.”

Junior Zach Rhoads set the tone offensively as the leadoff hitter, going 2-for-3. Rhoads singled in the bottom of the first inning and scored on Sam Swenson’s RBI single; in the second inning, Rhoads hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to bring home Kyle Casey and Riley McAnally.

“He’s been awesome,” Harlow said. “He does exactly what you want in a leadoff hitter. He finds ways to get on, and he’s been swinging it.”

Senior Gage Gubrud, starting in the field for the first time all season at second base, reached on an error in the fourth inning and later scored on a wild pitch. Casey added insurance in the seventh inning with an RBI single that brought Swenson home.

Even though the Grizzlies left 10 runners on base, Mechals had all the support he needed.

“It’s awesome,” Mechals said. “To come out of the gate when you have a couple of runs like that, I’m able to pound the zone.”

McMinnville (11-2, 4-1 Pacific) plays at Forest Grove today at 4:30 p.m. in a game initially postponed due to weather.


McMinnville 4, Century 0

The Grizzlies racked up 10 hits against the Jaguars to support starting pitcher Riley McAnally in Monday’s Class 6A Pacific Conference contest at the McMinnville baseball field at Patton Middle School.

Sam Swenson with 2-for-3 with three RBI for the Grizzlies, and Kyle Casey went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Adrian Uscanga and David Brosius also went 2-for-3 in the contest.

McAnally allowed four hits and two walks in the complete-game performance, striking out five. The Grizzlies backed him up defensively with an errorless performance.

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