It took a couple of come-from-behind efforts, but the Saxons completed the round two victory over West Salem on Wednesday when senior first baseman Kaiden Doten crushed a 2-out first pitch curveball over the wall in left field for a walk-grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning.
West Salem: 020 001 200 … 5 4 1
South Salem: 000 300 204… 9 8 0
West Salem finishes the season with a 15-12 record. The Saxons improve to 22-5.
Noah Ferguson took the mound for South Salem in his first start since May 2 after suffering a hip injury. He made quick work of West Salem in the top of the first, but Kaden Reidhead smashed a 2-run homerun in the top of the second to give the Titans an early 2-0 lead.
After trading a couple of zeroes, South Salem’s offense finally got going against Titan starter Braden Allison, who cruised through the first three frames unscathed. Ryan Brown and Danny Alvarado started the rally with back-to-back 1-out singles before Kaiden Doten plated Brown with a double. Greyson Hanowell followed with an RBI groundout, but the shortstop’s throw sailed high, allowing Doten to score from second and give the Saxons a 3-2 lead.
It stayed that way until the top of the 6th, when West Salem tied it up. Tanner Keene reached on a dropped third strike, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Noah Juarez’s single to right.
An inning later, with 1 out in the top of the 7th, Reidhead crushed his second dinger of the day to give West Salem a 4-3 lead. Crosby Albee followed with a homerun of his own, advancing the lead to 5-3. Ryan Brown then took over the mound on and quickly got a couple of groundouts to end the frame.
Facing elimination, the Saxons refused to give in. Elijah Enomoto-Haole led off the bottom of the 7th by getting hit by a pitch. One out later, Brett Matthews walked. After Ferguson popped out, South Salem was down to its final out with the tying run at first base. That’s when Sean Alvarado, down to his final strike, roped a single to center to score Enomoto-Haole and move Matthews to second. Brown followed with a single to left, scoring Matthews and tying the game at 5.
Both teams traded zeroes in the 8th inning.
In the top of the 9th, Ryan Brown struck out all three batters he faced, setting the stage for the fireworks in the bottom half.
With 1 out, Ferguson singled to center to put the Saxon offense in business. Sean Alvarado followed with a single of his own before Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases. One out later, Doten stepped to the plate. On the first pitch he saw, Doten hit a towering shot to left for a walk-off grand slam.
It was Doten’s second homerun of the season, both of which were grand slams.
South Salem now turns its attention to West Linn, who will come to Gilmore Field to face the Saxons on Friday in the quarterfinals.
West Salem Offense:
HR: Crosby Albee, Kaden Reidhead 2
TB: Noah Juarez, Crosby Albee 4, Kaden Reidhead 8
RBI: Noah Juarez, Crosby Albee, Kaden Reidhead 3
West Salem Pitching:
L: Kyle Kronenberg
HBP: Braden Allison, Kyle Kronenberg
Pitches-Strikes: Braden Allison 111-67, Kyle Kronenberg 17-12, Hector Amador 21-12
Groundouts-Flyouts: Braden Allison 4-10, Kyle Kronenberg 0-0, Hector Amador 1-2
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Braden Allison 21-30, Kyle Kronenberg 3-6, Hector Amador 3-4
South Salem Offense:
2B: Kaiden Doten
HR: Kaiden Doten
Grand slam: Kaiden Doten
TB: Sean Alvarado 2, Danny Alvarado, Ryan Brown 2, Kaiden Doten 6, Elijah Enomoto-Haole, Noah Ferguson
RBI: Sean Alvarado, Ryan Brown, Kaiden Doten 5, Greyson Hanowell 2
ROE: Greyson Hanowell
HBP: Ryan Brown, Elijah Enomoto-Haole
GIDP: Noah Ferguson
CS: Sean Alvarado
South Salem Pitching:
W: Ryan Brown
Pitches-Strikes: Ryan Brown 30-21, Noah Ferguson 98-60
Groundouts-Flyouts: Ryan Brown 3-2, Noah Ferguson 8-4
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Ryan Brown 6-9, Noah Ferguson 14-26