Gresham completes a series sweep
Friday, April 26
Gresham's comeback started from the unlikeliest of places.
A strikeout in the sixth inning sparked the flame that would send the Gophers to a 5-4 home win over Reynolds on Friday to complete the series sweep.
Trailing 4-2 late, Gresham's Tyler Budge swung through on a low pitch for strike three to lead off the sixth inning. But the ball dived into the dirt and clicked off the catcher's shinguards, allowing Budge to advance all the way to second base on the dropped third strike.
Three batters later, Evan Olson put a bunt in play that opened the door for Budge to come home, bringing the Gophers within a single run.
Gresham finished the comeback in the seventh inning when Hunter Snow whipped a lead-off double down the left-field line.
"I wasn't going to take any pitches. I didn't want to be an easy out," Snow said. "Once I hit it, I knew I was going to second."
A pair of walks loaded the bases with no one out, but still the Gophers needed to push at least one run across to keep the game going.
Snow pounced on that opportunity when a wild pitch came through to tie the game.
"They were throwing a lot of balls, so I was ready. I knew I had to go no matter what," Snow said.
Next up was Jaden Nehler, who bunted a high hopper down the third-base line that had teammate Reece McKenzie crashing home for the winning run. The bunt took a second hop foul, forcing the Gophers to reset.
A few pitches later, Nehler sent a fly ball to right field, opening the door for McKenzie to sprint home, lifting his helmet to celebrate as he crossed the plate.
"I knew my job was to get the ball out of the infield and somehow get that winning run in," Nehler said.
Nehler also came out of the bullpen in the third inning and went the rest of the way, striking out five batters.
Reynolds took a 4-2 lead in the third inning on Nick Blegen's two-run homer to left field.
The Raiders had a chance to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh only to see Gresham's Christian Figueroa whip a throw in from left field, and Olson relied the ball home where Gophers' catcher Dane Barham applied the tag in a tight play at the plate.
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, April 30, print edition.