The Tigers earn improbable wins over Hillsboro and Glencoe, but drop their final two against the Crimson Tide
Newbergs season has taken a few unexpected turns, perhaps none so unforeseeable and wild as its back-to-back wins over Hillsboro and Glencoe April 26 and 29.
In the former, the Tigers were no-hit by Spartans ace Chase Kaplan, but thanks in large to counterpart Nick Auld, somehow managed a 1-0 victory.
In the latter, Newberg was trailing by three runs and down to its final out, but was granted a reprieve when Marcus Dufour struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt, but was able to make it safely to first.
The Tigers rallied from there to force extra innings and hand the Crimson Tide a heartbreaking 9-8 defeat.
But even after dropping the final two games of the series to Glencoe last week, Newberg seems to have turned a corner in terms of competing at the varsity level and is growing with each game, no matter how wild.
Its a great learning experience for these guys for us to be where we are, head coach Steve Mayfield said. Its a matter of just being young and learning.
The Tigers were never able to solve Kaplan, but did get two free base runners when the power pitcher hit Austin Fletcher and Chris Schreiber reached on an error. Fletcher moved to third on the error, then put Schreiber aboard and the Tigers scored on a passed ball.
That was enough for Auld, who allowed only one hit.
This is the best defense weve played all year, Mayfield said. Nick had everything working. In the later part of the game his change was really his out pitch.
The Glencoe game began with a pair of two-run home runs for Tigers Anthony Adams and Jason Mauleon, but the Crimson Tide took control in the later innings and certainly felt good about its position, leading 8-5 and one out away from victory.
But once Dufour nullified the final out by reaching first, everything went Newbergs way, including scoring two runs on an infield to make it 8-7.
Mason Herring later drove in the tying run, but the Tigers needed another inning to earn the win.
After Brandon Nipp got Newberg through the eighth, Tyler DeLashmutt reached on a ground ball up the middle that was ruled an error. After a pair of fly ball outs, DeLashmutt stole second to get into scoring position. At that point, Nipp stepped to the plate and delivered with a base hit up the middle.
We were scoring Tyler all the way, Mayfield said of his speedy centerfielder. Their guy comes up throwing for a play at the plate and he ends up safe.
Glencoe got a measure of revenge with a 13-7 victory in Newberg Wednesday, then gave the Tigers a taste of their own medicine by taking a tight, 2-1 decision Friday.
This time it was Aulds turn to have a splendid performance spoiled after he pitched a complete game three-hitter.
He pitched a phenomenal game, Mayfield said. He was very efficient. I think he only threw 72 pitches in seven innings. He picked up where he left off (against Hillsboro).
The Newberg defense was steady, but the offense left six runners in scoring position, which allowed Glencoe to take the game in the seventh.
With two runners on, shortstop Anthony Adams tracked down a groundball, but when he went to throw to third for the force, no one was covering the bag and all three runners were safe.
Unfortunately, Auld walked the next batter to give the Tide the win.
Everybody knows were young, Mayfield said. Guys are figuring things out and starting to play well as a team together. Its not one guy, its not two guys, its 15 guys. Everybodys playing, so its been a lot of fun to watch.
The Tigers move on to a three-game set against McMinnville this week, which could be the last series between the two teams since they will be placed in separate conferences next year. Newberg will host the final game at 4:30 p.m. Friday.