GreyWolves hangs tough with professional team
KEIZER — After two straight wins to start of their season, the Gresham GreyWolves were us against much stiffer competition in their most recent contest.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes — a Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants organization — hosted the GreyWolves in an exhibition contest on Wednesday night.
You'd think a bunch of college kids playing against a professional team would be a significant mismatch. But the GreyWolves held their own against the Volcanoes as they lost 6-1 and were competitive throughout the entire game.
Gresham had combined for 27 runs in their first two games coming into Wednesday's affair. However, the level of pitching that they faced in this one was at a whole other level.
"I wanted us to put the ball in play a little bit more than we did, but we knew that tonight would be far different than what we are used to," GreyWolves head coach Pete Ness said.
Ness clearly used this game as a learning opportunity for everyone on the roster. There were 27 players that were available to play and every single one of them saw at least a little bit of on-field action. Ness used 10 pitchers on the night, as well as 17 position players.
"The best thing about tonight was that everyone got a chance to play," Ness said. "It was great for us to come down and experience this…We're still trying to feel guys out and give them an equal opportunity."
The Volcanoes got an unearned run in the bottom of the first, but were shutout in the next two innings after running into a pair of outs on the base paths. However, in the bottom of the fourth, Salem-Keizer got two massive solo home runs to left field by Diego Rincones and Dylan Manwaring off GreyWolves right-hander AJ Geaslen.
With one out in the frame and the Volcanoes up 3-0, Geaslen was replaced by former Gresham southpaw and current Linn-Benton player Austen Carpenter.
Carpenter retired the only two batters he faced as he got the GreyWolves out of the inning with no further damage.
"It really cool to be able to face some guys that got drafted," Carpenter said. "You just got to attack them the same way you would attack any other hitter, because if you psych yourself out, your just going to think too much about it and not perform the way you normally would."
Gresham's Dru Fitz, a pitcher for Mount Hood and former Barlow Bruin, was also impressive in his one inning of work as he struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth.
Look for extended coverage in the June 15 print edition.