Baseball update

Wayne Spinney

For The New Era

In this the fifth week of Capital Conference baseball league action, the Sweet Home High School varsity baseball team has full command of it?s own playoff destiny. Sitting in third place, after winning two of three league games last week, Head Coach Dan Tow and his charges are exactly where they want to be.

?We knew all along that we had a shot at post-season play,? said Tow as he reflected on his season so far. ?Right now we?re 6 ? 4 in the league with a chance of hosting a home game in the first round of the playoffs.?

Molalla 2 Sweet Home 7

More than anything, this game reflected an attitude that Brandon Martin brings to all of his athletic contests: the team has business to take care of so why not take care of business with a win? Martin went to the mound last Tuesday with that in mind allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out three Indians before giving way to ace reliever Lance Carter in the seventh.

?I felt good pitching the last two times out,? said Martin of his recent efforts. ?I know I can get batters out on my own with strikes and have lots of confidence on the mound now.?

After Molalla jumped on top with two unearned runs in the second frame, the local team came back with three of their own in the last of the inning and two more the next inning. Seniors Dajon DeMille, Cody Miller and Tim Matuszak all contributed with extra-base hits as the Huskies combined timely hitting with six free passes to take care of business and clinch the win.

Sweet Home 1 North Marion 11

The trip to Hubbard brought a rude greeting from the host Husky outfit. The home green unit combined seventeen team hits with a one-hit performance from their senior pitcher in coasting to a ten run victory over the Sweet Home Varsity.

?That?s a good baseball team that can really hit the ball,? said Miller after being rocked for twelve hits and six earned runs. ?I think they might do pretty well in the state playoffs this year too.?

Senior Brett Casto kept the visiting Huskies off balance by striking out twelve and walking only three on the way to his complete game victory. North Marion leads the league without a loss and is tied for tenth in the current 3A Coaches Baseball Poll while averaging nine runs per game in league play.

?Casto is one of the few who can throw the ball eighty-five miles an hour in this league. He has a manner of wildness that he seems to unleash only when he wants to. He threw a number of pitches halfway up the backstop on Tuesday then promptly came back with fastball strikes. I think he really knows how to work to batters well,? said Tow.

Sweet Home 9 Cascade 8

Last Thursday in Turner the Huskies had built an eight run lead by the middle of the fifth inning. It wasn?t enough though as the Cougars came back to tie the score on a controversial home run off Carter, in relief of Martin in the sixth. The Huskies had taken advantage of the opposition?s control problems on the mound and scattered a handful of hits among all the walks in order to jump to a five run lead in the first stanza. The lead grew to eight runs before the home team rallied in the fifth and sixth frames.

The rally to tie was capped when an apparent ground rule double call was reversed, after lengthy conversation, to actually be a one run homer. With Cascade hosting baseball games on the football field the crown of the gridiron makes the sight lines for deep outfield flies difficult from the infield. Apparently the umpire lost sight of the ball for an instant.

?It was the right call after everything was said and done. The confusion came because we had a similar situation when Carter bounced one over for a ground rule double in the same inning. Carter?s hit was certainly a double and the Cascade hit was surely a homer. I was just confused because the umpire reversed his call,? said Tow of the situation.

The Huskies collected themselves and scored a single run in the seventh to re-take the lead. Then in dramatic fashion, Carter struck out the last two batters he faced with the tying and winning runs on third and second in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the hard fought victory. Catcher Travis Smith led the charge on offense with two hits and three runs batted in for the day.

The baseball team heads to the last third of their league season sitting in position to decide their own fate for post season play. Stay tuned to see who wins the rubber match at Stayton this week. To say that the season rides on one game is an overstatement. Nevertheless a victory over the Eagles could go a long way toward the Huskies enjoying the end of May as a playoff contender.