It’s a simple formula really … a high level of performance on the field should translate into victories.
In a key pool play game on Friday night involving the last two unbeatens in the Mickey Riley Star-Spangled Tournament, Gerding Builders players knew they needed to perform at that high level to knock off a pretty good opponent in Alpenrose Dairy.
But the Portland team, which includes seven players from Wilson High’s 5A state championship team, had other ideas and took a 7-3 victory to clinch a spot in the tournament’s championship game.
“We need to refocus and put our attention on what’s coming up in these next few games and finishing up league play and getting ready for the playoffs,” Corvallis shortstop Layne Croney said. “We just need to step it up a little bit.”
Red Sox pitcher Gerhett Moser controlled most of the game with his pitching and hitting. On the mound, Moser, who started the 5A title game for Wilson, allowed five hits over six innings and survived a rough stretch late to get the victory.
“He threw pretty well, he was getting us pretty well with the off-speed and getting us to fly out,” Croney said.
Trailing 7-0 in the sixth, the Marketmen took advantage of Moser’s sudden loss of control on the mound to score three runs. They had the opportunity to inflict even more damage, but stranded two base runners when Moser came up with his fifth strikeout of the game.
“He got tired and I wanted to pinch hit a kid in the next inning so that’s why I tried to hold out as long as I could,” Red Sox coach Mike Clopton said. “If I had changed pitchers, the kid wouldn’t get to pinch hit. He had thrown 90-some pitches and that really was too much. But otherwise, he did a pretty good job, better than he’s thrown in a while.”
Corvallis had just one hit in the inning — an RBI single by Johnson — but Moser hit three batsmen. Kane Markley drew a bases- loaded walk and Johnson later scored on a passed ball.
“He was able to keep us off-balance and we continued to pop up and put the ball in the air,” Marketmen coach Kirk Myrold said. “He threw strikes and we were unable to make changes and perform to the abilities that we have.”
Moser was also a terror offensively by going 4 for 4 with three RBIs.
“Normally, we’ve been DH’ing for our pitchers but since he had three hits yesterday, we decided not to DH for him today and let him hit,” Clopton said.
Croney played exceptional on defense for the second straight game in the tournament. Croney and Johnson each had two hits.
Following the ballgame, Corvallis held a players-only team meeting for the first time this season.
“We challenged them going forward … to play in the way that best suits our team,” Myrold said about what coaches told the players before they huddled themselves. “We need to find that identity and thankfully, we have two games coming up to see how we want to play and perform.”
Alpenrose Dairy will play winless Beaverton today to wrap up pool play and await the other division’s winner in the finals.
Gerding Builders (14-12) will play Klamath Falls today with the winner advancing to the third-place game on Sunday. With a loss, the Marketmen would fall into the fifth-place game on the final day.
Alpenrose Dairy 7, Gerding Builders 3
ALPENROSE DAIRY 102 022 0 — 7 8 1
GERDING BUILDERS 000 003 0 — 3 5 3
Moser, Updike (7) and Harris, deNevers (5). Parnon, Cleary (6) and Reynolds. WP: Moser. LP: Parnon. 2B: Entrikin (AD)
Hits: AD 8 (Entrikin, Moser 4, Lusby, Andrews, Hagge), GB 5 (Cleary, Croney 2, Johnson 2)
RBIs: AD 5 (Andrews, Moser 3, Hagge), GB 2 (Johnson, Markley)