Sometimes doing just enough is, well, just enough.
Despite struggling at the plate, the Southern Oregon RiverDawgs manufactured enough runs to move ahead of Redding in Saturday night's WCL Tri-State matchup and then put their faith in pitching and defense to bring home a 3-2 victory.
Johnny Omahen's RBI single with two outs in the third inning snapped a 2-all tie and the combination of pitchers Jordan Lewis, Jon Flinn and Noah Northrop kept the Colt .45s off balance thereafter.
Southern Oregon wound up going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position Saturday, stranding 10 baserunners — six in scoring position. The RiverDawgs offset that by allowing only four Redding hits and no earned runs behind a combination of good pitching and solid support on defense.
"Our road trip (last weekend) was the same way," said RiverDawgs manager Chris Wolf. "We had a lot of opportunities and guys that usually come up big just don't, that kind of thing. It all works out, though. We don't give up on ourselves and just kinda keep chipping away. This team's all about adversity and making things happen."
The three-game series concludes today with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. at Harry & David Field.
Making his first start and only second appearance for the RiverDawgs (8-5, 4-3 WCL Tri-State), Lewis started off a bit slow as he struggled to find the grip for his curveball.
The former Phoenix High standout allowed a leadoff single by Kolt Canaday and then a one-out liner to right fielder Nick Rodda, who lost the ball in the sun and had it glance off his glove as Andrew Trepel made it all the way to third. Lewis lost his grip on the next offering, allowing Trepel to score on a wild pitch and give Redding a 2-0 lead.
Unfazed, Southern Oregon answered right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Kyle Secciani reached safely after an errant throw on a bunt back to pitcher Dallas Chadwick, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Chris Bradshaw singled to left field and moved to second on a throw that kept Secciani at third base, and Jonah Northrop followed with an RBI groundout.
After Steven Candelaria was hit by a pitch, Omahen plated the tying run on a fielder's choice.
The immediate answer provided a jolt of confidence for the RiverDawgs, according to Wolf.
"That kinda put the flames out right away, and that's one of the things we had trouble with on the road," said the manager. "(Folsom and Nevada) would jump out early and we just couldn't get it done. We were always behind the 8-ball and that makes it tough. To come back right away in the same inning tonight, everybody was fired up, and then it was just pitching staff take over."
Lewis sat the Colt .45s down in order over the next three innings, getting an unexpected boost on a heads-up play by Omahen after Drew Lassen's two-out single in the fourth. Lassen made an aggressive turn at first on the play and Omahen took the relay from the left fielder Bradshaw and without hesitation threw behind Lassen to first baseman Greg Vrooman to force a rundown that was alertly pulled off for the final out of the inning.
Redding (12-9, 2-5) secured its third hit off Lewis in the fifth on a one-out double by Tyler Berger, but two groundouts to second baseman Jonah Northrop left him stranded at third. A rare fielding error by Omahen and a hit batter gave the Colt .45s some hope in the sixth, but Lewis escaped any further damage with a pop-up to Vrooman to wrap up a solid night on the mound.
Lewis, who has signed to play next year at the University of Houston, finished with two strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed in his six innings.
"I didn't get in too much trouble, I kinda just worked with how I was feeling today," the left-hander said of his outing. "I just couldn't figure it out with that curveball."
"This is the farthest I've gone for a while," Lewis added. "Getting to the sixth inning, I just was fatigued and my body was tired. At that point I figured I've got great guys behind me, so groundballs are going to take care of it."
Wolf said he had no qualms with Lewis' effort Saturday night, especially given his extended break since pitching for Western Nevada College in the spring.
"He's still a little out of shape coming back, but that's OK, though, because mentally he was just fighting through it," said Wolf. "He's a scrapper. That was exciting."
Bradshaw helped set the stage for the go-ahead run in the third when he beat out an infield single for the second of his three hits on the night. The former North Medford High standout was erased at second on a fine tag following a fielder's choice grounder to Canaday, Redding's second baseman. With Jonah Northrop taking Bradshaw's place on the basepaths, he moved up on a throwing error by the shortstop Trepel and scored on a single up the middle by Omahen.
Flinn relieved Lewis in the seventh and, after a leadoff double by Berger, got three straight outs to maintain the RiverDawgs' lead. Noah Northrop came on in relief in the eighth and was due for one inning of work but was so efficient in the frame, Wolf sent him out again to close the game in the ninth. The right-hander sent Redding down in order in both innings, with two strikeouts, to earn his first save.
"Noah Northrop threw phenomenal," said Wolf. "I think it was his best outing."
Redding Colt .45s 200 000 000 — 2 4 3
So. Oregon RiverDawgs 201 000 00x — 3 7 2
Chadwick, Nunez (6) and Bogue; Lewis, Flinn (7), N. Northrop (8) and Brill. W — Lewis (1-0). L — Chadwick. S — N. Northrop (1). 2B — R: Berger 2.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail email@example.com
RiverDawgs stifle Colt .45s
Sometimes doing just enough is, well, just enough.