Dirtbags lose in semifinals

Hector Amador winds up for a pitch, coming in relief out of the bullpen.

KLAMATH FALLS — It’s all over for the Post 20 Dirtbags summer league baseball team.

The team lost 3-2 in the American Legion semifinals on July 31 at Kiger Stadium in Klamath Falls against the Eugene Challengers in an eight-inning game that was knotted 2-2 until a sacrifice fly into right field put the Challengers’ Connor Johnson across the plate to seal the deal, knocking the Dirtbags out of contention for the state title.

It wasn’t the ending the team really wanted, said catcher Emiliano Alarcon.

“Obviously we wanted to win the whole thing and it didn’t turn out like that, but that’s baseball,” he said. “We all enjoyed playing together as a team and competing every day, so overall it was a great experience for us. I think we gave it our all every game and did what we could to win.”

The Dirtbags walked out of the tournament with three games won, two lost: 4-2 over the Willamette Titans, 7-2 over Beaverton, and 6-2 over the Medford Mustangs, and two 3-2 defeats against the Challengers.

Even though the Dirtbags lost, head coach James Leach was happy with his team’s performance.

“The tournament went very well,” said Leach. “Players battled every single time they stepped in the field and never gave up.”

Stepping onto the field against the Challengers, the Dirtbags knew it was going to be a tough matchup.

“Going into the semis we were expecting a tough, close game just like the last time we played them and that’s what we got,” Alarcon said. “We knew Stewart was going to pitch great, like always, and give us a chance to win and that’s what he did. It was a great game and we just came out on the wrong side.

“Playing the challengers again for the second time in the tournament, we really wanted to take that semifinal game to go to the championship. I mean we knew this game was big because it was an elimination game and a lot was at stake, but we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Our coaches told us to keep playing hard the way we have been, and that’s what we did. A few things didn’t go our way, but we kept battling and gave it our all. It was a experience and great team to be a part of.”

Jacob Maiben got the ball rolling in the first inning with a single to first on a Challengers error.

In the fifth inning, the Dirtbags got on the board after Blake Arritola clinched a double RBI single.

Jaret Stewart took the loss on the mound, allowing six hits on three runs, and striking out one.

Hector Amador threw an inning in relief out of the bullpen.

The Challengers have proved to be a tough contestant for the Dirtbags, losing 14-4 on July 19, and then twice in the tournament series.

The Dirtbags finished the season with a 28-8-2 overall record.

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