All season long, the Corvallis Gerding Builders Marketmen have prided themselves on not having to lean on one player to carry the lineup; they believe all nine batters can deliver at any moment.
The past few days have served as convincing evidence of that belief. For the second consecutive game, Corvallis won in walkoff fashion in the Mickey Riley Star Spangled Tournament Friday to cap off a 7-6 win over the Dr. Stewart's of Roseburg.
This time around, Brooks Stearns came through with the big hit. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, Stearns lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right field to score Franklin Leonard and finish out Corvallis’s sixth straight win.
Just over 24 hours earlier, Cooper Hartsell delivered a walk-off hit of his own to help Corvallis win its opening game of the tournament. After plenty of success in big moments this summer, Corvallis’s players have begun to jokingly argue over who gets to finish off close games.
“There was kind of a joke yesterday,” Stearns said. “One of our last home games, I hit a walkoff. The home game after, (Hartsell) hit one. I was mad because I was up next and I told him I wanted to hit it instead. … It’s a good problem to have and it’s good that we’re getting it done.”
Corvallis found itself in a 1-0 hole after the first inning, but got back in the game in the fourth when it loaded the bases with nobody out and Franklin Leonard followed with a timely piece of hitting. Leonard ripped a single up the middle, and Roseburg center fielder Jett Black over ran the ball. That allowed all three runners to score, and Leonard slid under the tag at third to give Corvallis a 3-2 lead.
Leonard went 2 for 3 on the afternoon while batting out of the nine spot and drew a leadoff walk in the eighth to set up Stearns’ walkoff moment.
“It’s been great being able to rely on everyone and just knowing that whoever’s at the plate, we trust them to come through and do their job,” Leonard said. “Whether that’s a hit or a bunt or a sac fly like Brooks had. It’s been really nice just trusting everyone.”
Corvallis had a chance to do plenty more damage in the inning — the top of its lineup was due to bat with nobody out after Leonard’s bases-clearing hit. But Caleb Beach’s hard-hit liner was caught by Roseburg third baseman Jace Stoffal, who then doubled up Leonard at third to finish a bang-bang double play.
The next inning, Roseburg took immediate advantage as it strung together four consecutive singles to tie the game at 3-3. Corvallis starter Brandon Vogler then walked Black to give Dr. Stewart’s the lead. After a Corvallis mound visit, Cody Johnson blooped Vogler’s first pitch into shallow right field to make it a 5-3 game.
Roseburg would tack on another run before the inning ended to put Corvallis in an even further hole, but the Marketmen answered right back in the bottom of the fifth. Walker Riney cracked a run-scoring single, and two batters later, Ryan Hall lofted a double to deep left to score two more runs and tie the game and set the table for Stearns’ eventual game-winning hit.
The Marketmen will be in action again Saturday for the third game of tournament play when they take on the Eastside Cutters of Portland at 7 p.m.
Beaverton 4, Whalley Chiefs 3
Beaverton picked up its second win in as many days thanks to a three-run offensive outburst in the second inning.
Kellen O’Connor cracked a two-run single with two outs to erase Whalley’s early lead during Beaverton’s big second inning. The Chiefs tied game in the fifth on Travis Miller's RBI single, but Logan Davis plated John Oleson an inning later for the go-ahead run.
O’Connor went 1 for 3 for Beaverton with two RBIs, and Phoenix Forrester was 1 for 3 and drove home one run. Daniel Gernon was 2 for 3 and scored once for the Chiefs.
Walla Walla Bears 2, Eastside Cutters 0
The Bears lost in walkoff fashion during the final game on Thursday, but bounced back Friday thanks to a complete-game shutout from Matt McKenzie.
McKenzie held the Cutters to four hits and three walks and managed to preserve his shutout without striking out a batter.
Both of Walla Walla’s runs came in the second inning, and Josh Bergevin capped off the inning with an RBI single. Kobe Morris went 2 for 3 and scored to pace the Bears, while four different Cutters batters scattered hits throughout the afternoon.
Dallas Dirtbags 8, Mid-Coast Dungies 2
Dallas went to work early and took a first-inning lead on Ruben Cedillo’s RBI double to kick off a big offensive day. Derek Maiber went 3 for 4, drove home two runs and scored three times to lead the way for Dallas.
Cedillo, Kyle Mitsuyasu and Andrew Zellner each picked up two hits as well for the Dirtbags and Cedillo tossed four innings on the mound. Through two tournament games, the Dirtbags have outscored their opponents 11-2.
For the Dungies, Cole Strober went 2 for 4 and scored, and Jon Fritz was 2 for 3 with a run.