The Wilsonville baseball team could not have been hotter at the start of its Thursday, April 15, game against Rex Putnam.
They couldn't have, that is, unless they were the Kingsmen themselves.
The Wildcats poured across seven runs in the top of the first inning to seemingly take control of the contest, only to see Putnam answer with nine runs in the bottom of the frame.
But after that auspicious start, the two teams settled down to battle for the next six innings, with the Wildcats finally escaping to win 15-14 under sunny skies and mid-70s temperatures at Putnam High School.
"Tuesday's game … really hurt so we came here today for revenge," said Wilsonville junior catcher/pitcher Max Bledy, who went 3 for 4 at the plate with four runs batted in and four runs scored. "We had a lot more energy today. It was a really fun ballgame. Everyone competed. Everyone did their job. I'm really proud of the team."
"One to nine, we got a bunch of hitters, so yeah, that's what our team does," said Wilsonville senior first baseball Matthew Gomez, who went 1 for 3 with one RBI and two runs, including a sixth-inning solo home run. "We've just got a super deep lineup."
With the win, the Wildcats shook off their 16-4 loss to the Kingsmen two days earlier and improved to 1-1 in Northwest Oregon Conference play and 1-1 overall. Putnam, meanwhile, lost for the first time and fell to 1-1 in NWOC play and 1-1 overall.
"It's been exciting because of COVID and everything — there's a lot of different things happening and going on — but as long as we keep fighting, we have a chance to win this year, and at least we get to play," said Putnam senior right fielder Evan Carillo, who went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs.
"We're a pretty close team. We've been playing together, I'd say, since sixth grade, so when someone's hanging their head, you get them up and we just take the bats out there and get hitting," added senior John Foglio, who went 1 for 4 and drove in three runs (including a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning).
The Wildcats came out swinging Thursday, April 13, with their seven-run first highlighted by Bledy's two-run triple to right, senior Jack Kimball's three-run homer to center and an RBI single by junior Jack Johnson.
Undeterred, the Kingsmen came back even bigger in their half of the first, scoring nine runs on three hits, three walks and five hit batters. Putnam highlights in the at-bat were junior Vincent Salvione's double, a single by Carillo, an RBI groundout from Foglio, a two-run single down the first-base line by Carillo and senior Jayden Junta's sacrifice fly.
Already up 9-7, the Kingsmen tacked two runs onto their lead in the bottom of the second when senior second baseman Jason Young smacked a two-run single to center field to extend Putnam's lead to 11-7.
The Wildcats responded with a three-run third frame, getting two walks, a two-run double to center by Bledy and an RBI single from Kimball to close within 11-10. Then, in the fifth, they tied the game at 11-11 when Bledy doubled to right and junior Rochne Beecham followed with a single of his own.
Wilsonville appeared to put the game on ice with a four-run sixth that extended its lead to 15-11, getting a leadoff homer over the left field fence by Gomez, a two-run double to center by Beecham and a run-scoring single run the middle from Kimball.
Putnam, however, was not done.
Facing Wilsonville junior Cole Hubka — the Cats' third pitcher — Putnam loaded the bases when Young got a leadoff walk, Salvione singled down the third base line and Carillo was hit by a pitch.
Foglio came through with a two-run, opposite-field double to right and freshman Jackson Fera added an RBI groundout before Hubka ended the game with a strikeout.
"That's a good team with a lot of good guys," Bledy said. "It's really fun to be able to compete with them like that."
"We always fight for our brothers — we're all brothers here," Carillo added. "And you know what? When it comes down to the last guy, he almost had it there."
Kimball finished 3 for 5 with five RBIs and one run, and Beecham was 2 for 2 with three RBIs and two runs, while junior Austen Lowry got the win after throwing a scoreless fifth inning.
For Putnam, Salvione went 2 for 4 with one RBI and three runs, while sophomore Leo Renzema, junior Nick Watson and Young each scored twice.
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