Through the first five innings of Saturday night’s D1 baseball game against Corvallis, the Les & Bob’s boys weren't having a whole lot of fun stuck in an 8-3 deficit.
That all changed in the sixth.
Philomath scored 12 runs in the sixth inning and ended up with a 15-8 victory over the Spartans to complete pool play in the Les & Bob’s Tournament. The home team will face Dallas at noon Sunday.
“We do have some kids that can swing it and that’s been fun so far this summer, seeing what that looks like,” Les & Bob’s coach Levi Webber said. “If we compete — I think we lacked a little bit of that yesterday (Friday loss to Santiam Christian) late in the game but when we do compete, we’ve got some talent and we do some good things.”
The game started to turn in Philomath’s favor in the fourth when Webber put Cameron Ordway on the mound, moved Carson Gerding to shortstop and brought in Alek Russell to play second. Ordway allowed just three hits and one walk with six strikeouts while shutting out Corvallis the rest of the game in 3-2/3 innings. And at the plate, Russell took advantage of the opportunity with a single in the fourth and a double and triple in that crazy sixth to finish 3 for 3.
“Alek Russell today was phenomenal; he came in ready to hit,” Webber said. “And our guys who are used to hitting are hitting. … Yeah, I like our offense.”
Webber was referring to guys like Ordway (2 for 4, two doubles), Brody Hiner (solo home run) and Brian McClelland (key double). Even though Dylan Bennett didn’t get a hit, he was connecting and Garrett Blowers at the top of the lineup got on base twice. Newcomers such as Carson Gerding (double to center field wall) and Jacob Williams also produced at the plate.
It’s those newcomers that are playing precious innings to try to bring along their game to a higher level that can really benefit from summer ball. As is the case every year, Webber knows he’ll have holes to fill and analyzing the talent during these weeks is part of the process of making decisions down the road.
“We’re still trying to find some spots to fill and what some of the roles are going to be for some of the guys but I think for the most part, we’re getting a good idea of who’s going to be doing what next year, where they’re going to be,” Webber said. “We’ll get to swe them in another six, seven, eight months coming back bigger, stronger, faster so that’ll be fun too to kinda go along with what they’re doing.”
Calvin Snuggerud in center, Brooks Stearns behind the plate, Michael Slater at second, Marshall Brattain at third and Brandn Vogler on the mound were all key players on last season’s high school squad that have graduated.
“We definitely have some spots we’ve got to solidify that we lost but the guys are working hard and we had good talks with all of them as far as what we want out of them and what we want to see out of them to where they need to be next year,” Webber said. “So far, I’ve seen some good things. Obviously, there are still a lot of areas to improve on but we’re starting to see those positions take shape and the kids who are going to be filling a hole.”
As far as Philomath’s arms go, Webber believes he has options when it comes to his pitchers. McClelland and Adam Hernandez both threw well early in the past two games but they did show signs of fatigue as their pitch counts added up.
“Brian threw very well for the first three yesterday (Friday) and I think he got a little bit tired,” Webber said. “Adam got a little tired there in the fourth (Saturday) but that’s the first time they’ve really stretched it out that far. Their first couple of outings have just been an inning or two or three, so a little bit taxed as far as that goes. But when they’re fresh and they’re going good, they’ve shown good things. We’ve just got to continue throwing strikes and commanding the strike zone.”
Besides those two, Skylar Brolin shows promise and Ordway has proven that he can handle himself on the mound.
“We’ve got some options with the arms,” Webber said. “Obviously, some of them are young and we’ve got to coach them up and get them better, but I like the options we have, that’s for sure.”
Although summer baseball is about three weeks into the season, Philomath headed into Sunday’s game with only six games under its belt. That pace will change in the season’s last couple of weeks. After the team plays games early this week against South Salem and Dallas, Les & Bob’s will take the field 12 times over a 10-day stretch that begins July 8.
“It’s funny because we’re about halfway through this summer as far as time goes but we’re still pretty early in the summer as far as games go just because we haven’t played a ton early on,” Webber said.
After the Les & Bob’s vs. Dallas game at noon Sunday, the rest of the tournament schedule features Corvallis vs. Stayton at 2:30 p.m., and Newport vs. Santiam Christian at 5 p.m.
Philomath will go from the tournament right back into regular summer play with games Monday at home against South Salem and Tuesday at Dallas.
Les & Bob’s 15, Corvallis 8
Saturday at Philomath
Les & Bob’s
CORVALLIS 101 600 0 — 8 11 4
LES & BOB’S 102 00(12) x — 15 10 3
DP—Corvallis 1. LOB—Corvallis 8, Philomath 3. 2B—Ordway 2, Russell, Gerding, McClelland. 3B—Russell. HR—Hiner.
Les & Bob’s