Newberg Abby's baseball had the last week of games circled. Facing the likes of Southridge, West Linn and Lakeridge posed a significant challenge as the American Legion team navigated the middle part of its summer schedule.
The team showcased its improvement with a 3-2 mark in those five games, beating Southridge 11-1 before splitting the series with West Linn and Lakeridge.
Abby's lost 6-5 to West Linn before besting the Lions 9-1 the following day. After a Fourth of July break, they lost 9-1 to Lakeridge in the first game of that series before bouncing back with a 5-0 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.
"Things are going really well …," Abby's coach Trey Watt said. "We just did not play well in that first game against Lakeridge. We had three days off and I think the guys were still on vacation. We responded really well on Sunday, though, so the guys are playing well.
The Lakeridge American Legion team is a combination of some of the top experienced players from Lakeridge, Lake Oswego and West Linn.
Kyle Blohm threw a 'great game' on Sunday against Lakeridge, leading to the shutout victory, Watt said, adding that Connor Nipp was key on the mound for Abby's in the 9-1 win over West Linn, showcasing his stuff as one of the key pitchers for the team.
"Those two guys got big wins on the mound for us," Watt said. "Connor Hale continues to tear the cover off the ball at the plate, too."
The team had a home-and-home series with The Dalles on Monday and Tuesday, but before that it had a record of 9-11 on the summer and was the winner of seven of its last nine games.
It appears the Newberg baseball team is, ever-so-slightly, turning a corner from the struggles of its 2019 spring high school campaign.
If this trend continues, the team could see marked improvement once spring 2020 rolls around.
For now, though, Watt said he is proud of how the team has developed and stuck together; he pointed to the series against The Dalles as a key one as his team prepared to depart by bus on Monday.
"These are two really important games," Watt said. "They're league games for us Legion-wise and we have to come out with a great mindset."
Next up for Newberg Abby's is a trio of tournament games at Linfield College on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with opponents and first pitch times to be determined. It's a crucial tournament for the team as its schedule draws to a close this month.
After McMinnville, the team is scheduled for a doubleheader against Westview on July 17 and a trip to Reynolds the following day. That trio of games will wrap up the summer for Newberg Abby's baseball, which just this year reinstated its sponsorship deal with Abby's Pizza.
According to Watt, the sponsorship has been renewed for years to come, and so too has the focus on development during the offseason for the Newberg baseball program. The team hopes its solid summer performances serve as a catalyst to next season when it takes the diamond once again.
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