Alek Russell and Levi Webber
PHS coach Levi Miller bumps fists with Alek Russell after the junior hit a triple to right field. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Philomath High’s No. 3 got in a lot of mileage around the base paths on Friday during a doubleheader sweep over visiting Sisters. Alek Russell, a junior, went 5 for 7 and drove in five runs combined in the 5-2 and 15-11 victories.

“I’m starting to get a lot more comfortable in the box … I’ve been working at it a long time,” Russell said. “When I’m up there, my teammates are really supportive and that helps a lot; it gives you a fire in your belly to get going.”


The fire must’ve been running hot during Russell’s plate appearance in the second game’s fourth inning. The Warriors entered the inning trailing 7-4 but tied the game on one-run hits by Cameron Ordway, David Griffith and Ty May. An outfield error on May’s hit brought in another run to give Philomath an 8-7 lead.

Later with May at third and Chase Beardsley at second, Russell blasted an opposite field line drive into the right field corner.

“I knew it had some distance but by the time I got to second, I really didn’t know,” Russell said. “I saw (coach Levi) Webber moving me so I kept it going.”

Russell ended up with a two-run triple to give Philomath a 10-7 lead. The Warriors never trailed again to open the season with a 2-0 record.

“I was really, really pleased with how well we hit the baseball,” Webber said. “You’re never really sure how well you’re going to hit coming out. We’ve had a couple of live intersquads but not a ton of live at-bats so you’re always a little worried.”

The Warriors came out of the doubleheader with a .400 team batting average with 65 at-bats. Russell (.714), May (.625) and Ordway (.625) were all in the zone at the plate. Skylar Brolin, who turned in an exceptional performance at pitcher in the first game, went 2 for 3 while playing in the outfield in the second game.

“We’ve got some ability, we just have to make sure we’re always putting that ability in the right direction and making sure we’re getting the most out of our opportunities,” Webber said.

Skylar Brolin
Philomath junior Skylar Brolin allowed just four hits, two runs and one walk with five strikeouts in six innings of work in the first game. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

In the first game, Philomath led 4-0 through three innings with Brolin cruising on the mound.

“He was really sharp for the first two times through the order and just pounded the strike zone,” Webber said. “I don’t think they got a hit until the fourth or fifth inning. He was outstanding on the bump … kept his pitch count down.”

Brolin threw six innings and allowed four hits, two runs and one walk against five strikeouts. Webber sensed he was tired with his pitch count at 76 and brought in Ordway to finish up the game in the seventh. Ordway set down Sisters 1-2-3, the last two on strikeouts for the save.

Philomath took a 2-0 lead in the first on a one-run double to left by Adam Hernandez to bring in Ordway, who had opened the game with an infield single. Hernandez later scored on a wild pitch.

In the fourth, Hernandez opened with a single and scored on a double to center by May. Two batters later, Russell doubled to center to bring in May for a 4-0 Warriors advantage. Logan Carter then reached on an error to load the bases with no outs.

But Sisters escaped the situation with back-to-back strikeouts and a popup to the shortstop to strand all three PHS runners.

Sisters scored two runs in the sixth to make things interesting at 4-2. In the bottom half of the sixth, Philomath increased the lead to 5-2 when Ordway scored on a May sacrifice fly to center field.

Chase Beardsley
Philomath senior Chase Beardsley sprints around the base paths during Friday’s doubleheader sweep over Sisters. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

In a marathon nightcap that included a combined 24 hits and 26 runs, Philomath had to rally in the fourth and fifth innings. The Warriors went up 4-0 in the first on one-run singles by Hernandez and May, a sacrifice fly by Beardsley and on a passed ball that brought in May.

By the top of the fourth, Sisters had scored seven unanswered runs to take a 7-4 lead. Philomath was fighting through some rough stretches with its pitching and catching.

“Adam had a little tightness in his back, so he came out pretty early, a lot earlier than we were expecting him to, so we brought Cam back in,” Webber said. “We were struggling a little bit behind the dish early on, catching some balls and keeping some balls in front.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Philomath’s bats came alive to push six runs across, highlighted by that Russell triple. The Outlaws got back to within 10-9 in the top of the fifth but in the bottom half, Philomath started to pull away with five more for a 15-9 lead.

With May at the plate, Ordway scored on a passed ball for the first run of the inning. May followed with a two-run double to the left-field fence. Later in the inning, Russell singled in May and Jake Williams plated Brolin.

Sisters added single runs in the sixth and seventh but did not threaten the rest of the way.

David Griffith
Philomath sophomore David Griffith makes an acrobatic catch at first base for the first out of the seventh inning in the second game. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Ordway ended up as the pitcher of record for the win and May collected a save for his two innings of work to wrap it up.

For Ordway, it was an all-around effort at the plate and on the mound. Heading into the season, Webber called him a team leader, a role that he’s welcoming.

“I just need to work on being more vocal and helping our team out — that’s definitely my main focus right now,” Ordway said. “I think our team’s really athletic but we’re still a little on the new end for varsity play.”

Philomath will hit the road on Monday with a 5 p.m. game at Banks. The Warriors will then play back-to-back games against Sweet Home — Wednesday on the road and Thursday at home.

Friday, April 16 at Philomath HS
Philomath 5, Sisters 2
Sisters (1-1)0000020241
Philomath (1-0)202001x5100
Linn, 1b-cf3111
Harper, 3b3011
Vohs, ss2010
Spor, c3000
Tucker, p-1b3000
Silva, cf-p3000
Grace, lf3000
Moore, dh2110
Duey, 2b2000
Ordway, ss-p4220
Griffith, 2b-ss4010
Hernandez, cf4221
May, 1b3122
Beardsley, dh4010
Russell, lf-2b3022
Carter, c3000
Niemann, rf1000
Williams, 3b3000
DP: None. LOB: Sisters 2, Philomath 9. 2B: Hernandez, May, Russell, Vohs. 3B: Linn.
Tucker L474316
Brolin W642215
Ordway S100002
Philomath 15, Sisters 11
Sisters (1-2)01242111182
Philomath (2-0)400650x15161
Linn, ss-3b3100
Harper, 1b-c3301
Vohs, p-ss4223
Spor, 3b-1b2101
Tucker, 2b-3b3120
Silva, cf5000
Grace, lf3110
Moore, dh3011
Duey, p-2b3220
Ordway, ss-p4331
Griffith, 2b-ss3311
Hernandez, p-cf4321
May, 1b-p5334
Beardsley, 3b5101
Brolin, cf-lf3120
Russell, lf-2b4033
Niemann, rf4000
Carter, C1000
Williams, C3121
DP: None. LOB: Sisters 11, Philomath 8. 2B: May 2, Ordway, Vohs 2, Duey. 3B: Russell.
Dran L233332
* Duey faced 2 batters in the fourth.
Ordway W256413
May S222231

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