Friday, December 06, 2013
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Dallas’ Tyler Totten fields a throw from home as Corvallis’ Derick Porter slides into third base safely in Friday’s game in Dallas.
May 01, 2013
DALLAS -- Dallas, meet your wake-up call.
After seeming nearly untouchable through their first three Mid-Willamette Conference series, the Dragons baseball team finally met a team that wasn't going to let Dallas execute any of its trademark last-minute heroics.
Not to mention a team bolstered by a hit-robbing, speedy center fielder.
"This time, we hit the ball but Rondeau is just an amazing outfielder," Dallas third baseman Jarret Peterson said of Corvallis' Henry Rondeau, who made several great catches -- and one crucial grab that ended a fifth-inning Dragons' rally -- in Friday's 3-1 loss in Dallas.
"He ran down Scott (Schepige's) ball in deep left center -- we should have had a couple more runs, but there's nothing you can do about that," Peterson added.
It was the second loss of the series for Dallas, which was shut out for the first time in conference play this season April 24 at Corvallis, 5-0. The Dragons won the April 22 series opener, 7-4, behind the arm of Peterson, who picked up his seventh win of the season.
The loss -- and the Dragons' first series setback -- also caused a major shakeup in the MWC standings, as three teams -- Dallas, Corvallis and Crescent Valley -- entered Tuesday's league schedule tied for first place with two series remaining.
Making matter worse for the Dragons was their heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Crescent Valley Tuesday after the Itemizer-Observer went to press. The loss put Corvallis and Crescent Valley in a two-way tie for first after both teams won Tuesday.
For the Dragons, now ranked No. 4 in the Oregon School Activities Association power rankings, the series loss to Corvallis didn't seem to hurt -- too much.
That's because at this point in the season, it's all about how they respond.
"I think sometimes, that's just baseball," Dallas' 14th-year coach Scot McDonald said shortly after Friday's setback.
"They had balls land in and we didn't, and that's just the way it is. We played great defense and our guys pitched and we competed at the plate, so we'll just move on to Crescent Valley now."
Dallas (15-5, 9-4) trailed quickly in Friday's contest, as Rondeau's RBI double in the first inning gave Corvallis (12-8, 10-3) a 1-0 lead.
With the Dragons unable to get much going at the plate early, Corvallis struck again in the fourth, plating two more runs via doubles from Luther Ellenson and Derick Porter to take a 3-0 lead.
Dallas’ Keaton Weaver, left, celebrates with teammate Garrett Smith after Smith’s catch in left field saved two Corvallis runs from scoring in the fifth inning.
Dallas had its best chance at creating a rally in the fifth, when Peterson's two-out RBI double scored Keaton Weaver (who had earlier singled) and put the Dragons' dangerous No. 4 hitter, Scott Schepige, at the plate. The senior connected and gave the ball a ride to deep left center field, only to be tracked down by the athletic Rondeau, who made a nice play on the ball to end the inning and the threat.
Rondeau wasn't the only outfielder making plays, however.
Dallas senior left fielder Garrett Smith made two highlight catches of his own to keep the score close, with the first saving two Corvallis runs from scoring in the second inning. With two Spartans runners on base, Rondeau hit a deep ball to the left field wall that looked as if it would get behind Smith. But he made a great backhanded snag to end the inning. Smith added another nifty slide-and-pop-up catch near foul territory in the fifth.
"It was amazing," Peterson said of Smith's second play. "It's normal for Smitty to do something like that -- we practice that in the field, but I don't think I've ever seen him do a pop-up dive like that. That was kind of awesome."
Despite the series loss, the Dragons aren't throwing in the towel on their league title hopes just yet.
Peterson & Co. know there's still plenty of more work to do -- and plenty season left to do it.
"This doesn't put a dent in our confidence at all," Peterson said. "We're still a good team, but I think the intensity hasn't been up and I think this woke us up a little bit in realizing that there are other good teams out there besides us. I think this (loss) only helps us."
Added Smith: "I think this is one of the best teams that has come through Dallas High in a long time and I'm not worried.
"These are great players."
RACE FOR THE TITLE
With Dallas' Friday loss to Corvallis and then Tuesday's bitter 3-2 setback at Crescent Valley, the conference's three-way tie is over, with Corvallis and Crescent Valley now tied for first. Here's a look at where the teams stand with five games left.
Crescent Valley 10-3 (15-5)
Losses: Two to West Albany, one to Lebanon.
Next up: Dallas (two games), Corvallis.
Corvallis 10-3 (12-8)
Losses: Lebanon, West Albany, Dallas.
Next up: South Albany (two games), Crescent Valley.
Dallas 9-4 (15-5)
Losses: Two to Corvallis, West Albany, Crescent Valley.
Next up: Crescent Valley (two games), South Albany.
Crescent Valley at Dallas
When: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.
Dallas at Crescent Valley
When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.