It’s almost hard to believe, but a sometimes-crazy high school baseball regular season marked by dreary and wet weather will come to a close in little more than a week.
Dallas, Central and West Salem are looking for some feel-good moments to remember, with Central still a possible state playoff team as this week began. The Panthers will need a strong finish to get into the postseason, though.
Here’s a breakdown of the local teams:
South Albany was a thorn in the Dragons’ side last week. The RedHawks edged visiting Dallas 7-5 on Wednesday, then handed the home Dragons a 13-8 loss Saturday.
South Albany was 0-10 in the Mid-Willamette Conference and 2-18 for the season before those games.
Dallas slipped to 1-9 in the MWC, 5-14 overall.
In the Saturday game, the RedHawks scored single runs in the first three innings to lead 3-0 off Dragons starter Lucas Lefever, a sophomore left-hander.
Dallas pushed one run across in the bottom of the third, but South Albany broke it open with a six-run fourth.
The RedHawks finished with 13 hits to Dallas’ six.
The Dragons committed six errors. South Albany struggled defensively as well, making five errors.
Dallas had no seniors in its opening lineup, going with freshman Eli Sledge behind the plate, junior Emiliano Rocha at first base, junior Kaden Moore at second, junior Owen Hess playing shortstop and freshman Eli Hess manning third, along with juniors Brock Dunkin, freshman Jack Strange and Patrick Drane in the outfield from left to right.
Dallas had a Monday game scheduled at North Salem and will meet the Vikings again at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Dallas. North Salem was 1-10, 5-15 through last week.
On Friday, the Dragons travel to Crescent Valley (6-6, 12-9). Those two teams will play again on Monday, May 16 at Dallas.
After that is the Dragons’ final series, with games May 18 against visiting Lebanon and May 20 at Lebanon. The Warriors were in a three-way tie for first in the MWC, with Corvallis and West Albany, all 9-1 going into this week.
The Panthers were able to play only once last week. They lost 13-2 in five innings at Lebanon on May 3. Rain wiped out another game with the Warriors, along with a nonleague trip to Banks.
Lebanon took control early against the Panthers. The Warriors scored four runs in the first inning, extended their lead to 12-0 after two innings and were ahead 13-0 after three.
Central got its runs in the fifth.
The Panthers finished with three hits and five errors, while Lebanon banged out 11 hits and made one error.
Central is slated to play host to West Albany at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and to South Albany (2-10 league, 4-18 overall) at 5 p.m. Friday.
The Panthers’ second game with South Albany is booked for Monday, May 16, at South Albany.
Central’s final MWC games are May 18 and 20 against Silverton, the first game at home and the second away. The Foxes were 6-3, 12-7 through last week.
The Panthers also were scheduled to play at West Albany on Monday, May 9, weather permitting.
Not counting a forfeit victory over Dallas, the Panthers had lost three in a row and six of their last seven games heading into this week.
Still, they were not far behind fifth-place Crescent Valley in the MWC standings (Crescent Valley at 6-6, Central 4-6). Those teams split their two games this year.
Only the top four finishers in the league automatically qualify for the 16-team state playoffs in 5A, but the fifth-place finisher in the MWC can earn the No. 16 seed if its OSAA ranking is higher than that of the fifth-place team in the Midwestern League.
As of last week, Churchill was fifth in the Midwestern and ranked 22nd. Central was 19th.
The Titans were set to finish their Mountain Valley Conference season on Tuesday at home against South Salem.
Going into that game, and after going 0-3 last week, the Titans were 2-9 in league and in seventh place out of seven teams. West Salem was 5-17 overall.
The Titans dropped a 12-1 road game in five innings to South Salem on May 3, then fell twice on Saturday at first-place Summit.
South Salem built a 5-0 lead after two innings. West Salem got one run in the third, but gave up seven runs in the fourth.
On Saturday, even though senior ace Brody McMullen gave up only five hits in six innings, the Titans lost their first game at Summit 3-1.
The Storm scored once in the fourth and twice in the sixth. West Salem got one back in the seventh and had only two hits, one each by senior first baseman Brooks Ferguson and junior second baseman Tyler Rock.
Sophomore Carter Lesh had the RBI.
McMullen struck out five Storm batters.
The second game lasted only five innings. Senior lefty John Olsen got the ball and the start for the Titans. The score was 1-1 after one inning, 2-1 for Summit through two and 3-1 after three. The Storm broke out with five runs in the fourth, chasing Olsen, and tacked on five runs in the fifth. Summit had a 9-2 edge in hits, and West Salem was charged with six errors.
West Salem started two freshmen in both Summit games – Carter Howard at catcher and Aiden Rock at shortstop. Junior Trey Ward played third, sophomore Matthew Luke was in left and junior TJ Lockhart started the first game in center. In addition to McMullen and Ferguson, the only other senior starter was right fielder Colin Kronenberg.
Three non-league games remain on the West Salem schedule. The home finale will be 5 p.m. Thursday against Wilsonville, which is ranked No. 3 in Class 5A.
The Titans will play Tuesday, May 17 against Lincoln at Ron Tonkin Field, home of the Single-A Hillsboro Hops, and May 19 at Clackamas.