Junior Skylar Brolin had one of his best-ever performances on the mound and the offense staged a late rally with the potential tying and winning runs on base but Philomath High came up short Wednesday in a 3-2 loss to Class 5A Crescent Valley to end the season.
“I think this was as close to a playoff atmosphere … without actually being in the playoffs,” longtime PHS head coach Levi Webber said. “They know a lot of those in the other dugout from CV and those guys know us. They were really excited when they heard they were going to get the opportunity to play them. It’s just that pride factor of playing that local team that’s a classification ahead of you.”
Brolin tossed a five-hitter with no earned runs and no walks allowed with 11 strikeouts in a full seven-inning outing. Crescent Valley (11-7) scored one run in the fourth with a passed ball helping the runner get around the bases and two in the fifth with an infield error helping the Raiders.
“You always know he’s going to compete his butt off and today he was sharp,” Webber said about Brolin. “He was working ahead, locating his fastball, throwing his breaking ball for strikes, throwing his changeup — he threw a lot of really good changeups in there. With a lineup like that that’s got some big boppers and being able to change speeds with strikes, he was awesome today.”
Down 3-0 going into the bottom of the seventh, Philomath (9-8) did not disappear into the offseason without a fight. Alek Russell opened the inning by taking one for the team and Jake Williams and Mason Stearns came off the bench to pinch hit and came up with clutch base hits. With one out, Williams singled to left and Stearns singled to right to load the bases.
Logan Carter followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Russell for the Warriors’ first run. Then it was to the top of the order with Cameron Ordway and he smacked a line-drive single to left field that plated Williams. However, the game ended on a forceout with a ground ball handled by CV’s third baseman.
“I thought we played and competed well, it was just one or two plays that essentially was the difference in the game,” Webber said. “I was glad that we got a game like today to get some of that experience because that’s what this year was all about — getting ourselves ready to take that next step next year.”
Philomath’s baseball program typically finds itself in the league title conversation year after year and the Warriors stayed alive for a 4A tournament spot until the final Oregon West games were played.
“We go into every season with the idea that we’re going to win the league title,” Webber said. “That’s the expectation and the culture of our baseball program as a whole.”
Despite that level of confidence, Webber said the coaching staff realized this spring would be a season of development.
“We had so many young guys — sophomores this year, juniors, that would’ve been varsity guys last year that missed a whole year,” Webber said. “I think what reared its ugly head was just the inexperience of the game. Talent isn’t our issue, we have plenty of talent. … Our biggest thing that we had to work on this year and we needed was just that experience piece.”
The Warriors only had two seniors on the roster in Adam Hernandez and Chase Beardsley — they were recognized before the first pitch — to provide the program with a solid foundation from which to build on.
“We’ve got a lot of guys coming back next year and I think they have a high expectation of themselves and what we can do,” Webber said.
Webber said the Warriors will have a summer baseball team for the underclassmen. Games will not begin until after basketball and wrestling finishes up in late June even though Oregon School Activities Association rules allow teams to begin as early as June 13.
“We’re looking to play probably about 15 to 18 games, something like that, and it’ll be like three weeks.” Webber said. “We’re going to host our tournament again but it’s going to be a little bit later than normal. And then just some singles and some doubleheaders throughout the week and then I think we have one more tournament that we’re co-hosting with CV and CHS (Corvallis High School) where we have eight teams and we’ll play a few games there.”
Getting in as many innings as possible to develop players is a must for the program.
“That’s the next step as far as getting that experience piece is this summer and starting to compete at the level we want to compete at all the time,” Webber said, “and starting getting ourselves ready for next year.”
Crescent Valley 3, Philomath 2
Wednesday, May 19 at Stephenson Field, Philomath HS
|Crescent Valley (11-7)||0||0||0||1||2||0||0||3||5||0|
|No. 12, ph#||1||0||0||0|
|# Player not listed on roster|
|A. Russell, lf||2||1||1||0|
|C. Russell, dh||2||0||0||0|
|DP: Crescent Valley 1. LOB: Crescent Valley 3, Philomath 6. 2B: A. Russell. 3B: Still.|
Did you enjoy this content? The news site has no paywall but we do rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.