Volcanoes pick up key victory against Campesinos

Bryan Ruby heads down the line after knocking a single into right field (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

After losing the first game of a doubleheader, the Volcanoes knew they needed to win game two if they wanted to keep pace with the Campesinos de Salem-Keizer in the Mavericks Independent League Standings.

The Volcanoes got RBIs from seven different players and a solid pitching performance from Logan Dubbe as they defeated the Campesinos 10-4 in a seven-inning contest on Thursday, June 10.

“We came out and did a great job of staying positive and putting together some really good at-bats. It was a great win for us against a tough team,” said Volcanoes assistant coach Gehrig Richins.

The Volcanoes got things started in the bottom of the first when Nick DiBenedetto drew a leadoff walk and stole second to give them a runner in scoring position. After getting to third on an error, Dibenedetto scored the first run of the game.

In the bottom of the third, the Volcanoes increased their lead to 2-0 on an opposite-field RBI-single to right field from Caleb Johnson — who was 2-for-3 on the night with an RBI and two runs scored.

“They stayed within themselves and weren’t trying to hit a grand slam with no one on,” Richins said.

On the mound, Dubbe was dominant in his first three innings of work. After the Campesinos got their first base-runner in the top of the third on a one-out single by Nicholas Prater, Dubbe forced the next hitter to ground into a 3-6-1 double play to end the inning.

“Logan is a battler. The guys are all confident and when he is on the mound, they feel it is winning time. Kudos to him coming in and being a bulldog,” Richins said.

In the top of the fourth, Patrick Chung drew a walk on a pitch that the Volcanoes dugout thought was the third strike. With one on and one out, the league’s hits and home runs leader, Rick Phillips, blasted a two-run shot over the right field wall to tie the game at 2-2.

Volcanoes manager Tony Torcato had barked at the home plate umpire on multiple occasions up to this point. After not getting the strike call, in the previous at-bat, which led to the two-run homer, Torcato confronted the umpire at home plate, arguing balls and strikes, and was ejected from the contest.

“Big pitches at big times affect what we are going to do next pitch and within the whole at-bat everything can change. When that happens and it doesn’t go in your favor, it is really frustrating when you feel like one call can cost a big situation, so when the next ball was a big hit, (Torcato) lost it,” Richins said.

The Volcanoes offense, however, responded in the bottom of the fourth.

Campesinos pitcher Bradley O’Connor issued a pair of one-out walks before being replaced by Andrew Baxter. With two runners on base, DiBenedetto doubled down the right field line to give the Volcanoes a 3-2 lead. Tony Holton followed with a double of his own, scoring two runs and extending the lead to 5-2.

A three-run fifth inning, thanks to a two-run single from Gabriel Gotto and a RBI-hit by Garrett Kueber, helped the Volcanoes increase the lead to 8-2.

“It was about trying to string together really good at-bats and making the pitcher work a little bit,” Richins said.

“When we don’t chase, when we get big hits at the right time and get into their bullpen, it just fires us up. We are a team that responds well to that momentum.”

The Campesinos got two runs in the top of the sixth, but Dubbe was able to limit the damage in his last inning of work.

“Logan throws pitch-to-pitch. One bad call or one big hit isn’t going to get to him. He keeps the same demeanor,” said. “He just gets after hitters. You can’t love anything more than that.”

Weekly recap (June 10-12).

Thursday, June 10: Campesinos 8 Volcanoes 4 (Game 1)

Despite giving up four unearned runs on a pair of errors, the Campesinos defeated the Volcanoes 8-4 in game one of their doubleheader.

Campesinos pitcher Colby Neely picked up the win on the bump, throwing 4.2 innings and giving up four hits and no earned runs while striking out four. 

Collin Runge went 2-for-3 at the dish with three RBIs to lead the Campesinos. 

CJ Epperson was the top hitter on the night for the Volcanoes, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

The Campesinos chased Volcanoes pitcher Joseph Serna in the top of the first after scoring three runs in the frame. After an RBI-double to left field from Rick Phillips, Runge came through with a two-run single to put the Campesinos up 3-0.

The Volcanoes responded in the bottom half of the frame when Epperson hit an RBI-single to left field to make the score 3-1.

An sacrifice fly from Patrick Chung and an RBI-double from Runge in the top of the fifth increased the Campesinos lead to 5-1. But the Volcanoes came back to cut the lead to one with three runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to RBI hits by Tony Holton and Garrett Kueber, as well as a sacrifice fly by Nick DiBenedetto.

However, the Campesinos put the game out of reach in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs in the frame. 

Friday, June 11: Senators 11 Mavericks 6

The Senators picked up their second win of the season after recording a season-high of 17 hits. Rob Brown, Taylor Travess and Malcolm Dowell each went 3-for-5 at the dish for the Senators.

Brown scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first to put the Senators on top 1-0, but the Mavericks went up 3-1 in the bottom of the third with a three-run homer by Drake Zarate.

The Senators, however, sprung for four runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run double by Matt Lokken and RBI hits by Rob Brown and Travess, giving the Senators the 5-3 advantage.

The Mavericks tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of unearned runs, but in the top of the seventh, the Senators plated three runs, two of which coming on a two-run single by Dustin Meyer, and regained the lead at 8-5.

The Senators scored again in the eighth on an RBI two-bagger by Lokken and another RBI-hit by Travess. Jordan Drake knocked in the 11th run of the contest for the Senators on a RBI-single. 

Saturday, June 12: Campesinos 11 Senators 1

The Campesinos pitching staff gave up just one run and five hits over nine innings to defeat the Senators 11-1. Rick Phillips led the Campesinos with three RBIs and a run scored. 

Philips got the Campesinos offense going in the top of the first with an RBI-double down the left field line, which was soon followed by an infield single from Collin Runge, scoring Patrick Chung from third and giving the Campesinos the 2-0 advantage. 

After Matt Lokken knocked in the Senators only run of the game in the bottom of the third, the Campesinos got a run back in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 3-1.

With it only being a two-run contest going after seven innings, the Campesinos scored four in the eighth and four in the ninth to blow the game wide open. 

The other three scheduled Mavericks League games were rained out and will be made up at a later date.