Corvallis — West Salem entered Sunday with defensive and pitching momentum, having shut down Silverton and Summit on Friday and Saturday, setting up a date with Churchill for the state title. West Salem started slow on offense, going 1, 2, 3 to begin the game. After allowing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first and stealing second, the Lancers knocked in the opening run of the game with an RBI single to second, taking a 1-0 lead after an inning of work. Titans starting pitcher Kyle Kronenburg recovered, striking out the final two hitters to get out of the jam.
In the second, West Salem got a pair of runners on with one out, but a pickoff play and groundout killed the rally for the Titans. Same story in the third, the Titans got two more on base but a pair of pop outs ended the Titans threat. West Salem finally broke through in the fourth inning, with Ben Nagle reaching on a leadoff single. After moving over to second on a groundout, Nagle was driven home on an RBI single by Andrew Nadeau, and West Salem knotted the score up 1-1 after four innings.
Jackson Gatchett and Gabe Fletcher hit back to back one out singles, setting up an RBI single by Crosby Albee, giving West Salem the 2-1 lead, with a wild throw from the right fielder making it 3-1 Titans. The Titans would load the bases with two outs, but a pop out ended the inning with the bases loaded. After scoreless sixth inning, the fun really began in the seventh inning. West Salem loaded the bases with no outs, and Marshall Brey grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice, extending the lead to 4-1. Brey tied up Churchill in a rundown play, allowing Nagle to steal home and make it a 5-1 game entering the bottom of the seventh.
Churchill got runners on second and third base with one out in the inning, and hit into a sacrifice fly to score a run, making it 5-2. With two away, the Lancers smacked a groundball to shortstop, with the shortstop bobbling it and allowing Churchill to score again and cut it to 5-3. However, after putting in Brody McMullen to finish the game, it only took one pitch for the Titans to take home the state championship over Churchill 5-3.
After some parental photographers swarmed the field to take some shots on the state champs, Crosby Albee talked about the win and put the entire weekend in a bow, “We started off slow with the bats in the first game, and the second game we got more hits early. The pitching was really solid the entire weekend, the fielding was good too so it was a great team effort this weekend.”
Closer Brody McMullen talked about the final out and having confidence being put into him by the coaching staff, “The final batter I really didn’t think about it at all, I just went out and did my thing. It was obviously just one pitch, but you just gotta go out there and do your thing. It feels great that Coach trusts me, especially with how young I am and everything, its great to know I have a spot on this team.”