Game Rundown: Playoff baseball is a funny thing. Records, stats, and accomplishments from the regular season go out the window. On paper West Salem was not expected to beat Grant on Monday, as the Generals were ranked 13th in Oregon and West Salem 20th. But, as they say, "That's why you play the game".
Lucas Stanfield was dominant on the mound for the Titans. West's ace pitcher recorded a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits while striking out seven. The only real threat to Stanfield's performance came in the bottom of the seventh when runners were on first and second with just one out. Just as he'd done all day, however, Lucas was able to get out of trouble by inducing the game ending 6-4-3 double play.
Offensively, West did not have many scoring opportunities, but made the ones they did have count. Grant's starting pitcher, Kenji Lamdin, was firing on all cylinders as he also hurled a complete game and struck out ten. That being said, West took advantage immediately in the top of the first inning. Noah Juarez stroked a 2 out double to the outfield and Kyle Mitsuyasu followed with another double, scoring Juarez. The Titans scored their only other run in the sixth inning when pinch hitter Wilson Neitzel slapped the first pitch he saw down the third base line to score Juarez from second.
As is often the case in playoff baseball, the game was an exciting pitcher's duel with West Salem doing just enough to squeak out the upset victory. The Titans also used stellar defense, which included two inning ending double plays and a tremendous sliding catch by Marshall Bray in the bottom of the seventh.
Players of Note: Lucas Stanfield (CG, 0 ER, 2 hits allowed , 7 K), Noah Juarez (2-3, 2 runs), Kyle Mitsuyasu (2-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB), Wilson Neitzel (1-1, 1 RBI)
Inside the Numbers: West Salem outhit Grant 7 to 2. West Salem batters struck out 10 times, while Grant struck out 7. Both starting pitchers threw complete games. Noah Juarez and Kyle Mitsuyasu had the only extra base hits in the game; back to back doubles in the first inning.
Up Next: The Titans head to Gilmore Field on Wednesday, to face a familiar foe in South Salem. South defeated Sheldon 9-4 on Monday. South Salem will enter as the favorite, as they hold a #4 overall ranking in the state, while West Salem is #20. The Saxons won the season series versus the Titans, having defeated West by scores of 4-2 and 2-1. The game will take place at 5 pm at South's Gilmore Field as West looks to knock off another higher ranked team.