The Vale Vikings get a short reprieve from the rain as they watch from the dugout in the first of two rain delays during their 3A Oregon State Baseball Championships quarterfinals game against Dayton on May 27, 2011 at Cammann Field, Vale, Oregon.
It was pouring, but the Vale players and coaches quickly left the protection of the dugout to cover the bases, pitchers mound and home plate areas with tarps. When the wind gust hit they were back out in the elements to anchor the tarps down.
Vale coaches and players ignore the rain and use tarps to protect the field during the quarterfinal game against Dayton.
When it slowed to a drizzle they were out on the field hauling and applying bags of “Play Ball” moisture control infield conditioner so the game could go on. It’s still raining, dust is all over, the orange stuff is getting on their uniforms – doesn’t faze them a bit, they just wanna play ball. And not only were they doing this during the game, they were out earlier in the morning doing the same thing and preparing the field. These guys are tough.
Vale’s starting pitcher, Shadd Samio, carries one of the many bags of “Play Ball” moisture control that the Vale players and coaches applied on the field to make it playable.
I am impressed with how the Vale team responds – no complaining, no whining, no excuses, they just go out and get it done. While the rain was a hassle, in between the storms, it was a great day for baseball.
Now back to the ballgame.
Branden Holloway cruises into third for a two out, two RBI, standup triple in the sixth inning. The two runs gave the Vikings a 4-3 lead which they held for the win.
Branden Holloway’s teammates call him Weeman. I am guessing it’s because he is usually the smallest one on the field, but his nickname has nothing to do with his performance on the field. He comes up with big hits in the clutch and makes sure the routine fielding plays stay routine. Branden bats in the bottom part of the lineup, but there are no soft spots in this Vale lineup. He and his teammates can all stick the ball.
In the playoffs all the teams are good and Dayton is no exception. They are an athletic looking team and have some standout players. In this game, bottom of the sixth, two on, two outs, Dayton’s up 3-2. You just get the feeling that this Vale team is going to come through. This time it’s Branden with a standup triple to bring home Austin Tolman and Derrek Rodriguez for a 4-3 Vale lead. Kyle Barras is on the mound for the seventh and closes out the game with some solid defense behind him and two K’s.
A close game that could have gone either way but the magic is in the air. It reminds me of a team I watched back in 1975. No matter the score, you knew they were going to find a way to win. The road to state continues.
Thanks to the Vale and Dayton coaches and players for letting me hang around in their dugouts.
See you next Tuesday. Go Vikings! -Gregg Mizuta