GRESHAM, Ore. – There’s no easy way to bounce back from a stunning defeat like the one the Gresham GreyWolves saw on Friday, but Gresham managed to do just fine in its return to action on Saturday night.
The GreyWolves (14-12, 25-28 overall) started their second game with the visiting Bend Elks in similar fashion to the first one, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead after the fourth inning for a second time in as many nights. This time, however, there would be no startling comeback from Bend (10-16, 21-32).
Gresham added four more runs throughout the contest’s latter innings, while the Elks avoided a shutout with a singleton eighth and one last run in the ninth. Southern Illinois product Drew Curtis was the GreyWolves’ top performer at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Starter Donavon Ramirez (4-3) earned the win after throwing seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing just five scattered hits in the process.
The two teams will return to action on Sunday evening for the rubber match of the three-game set. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. back at Oslund Field.
Postgame thoughts from head coach Justin Barchus and Donavon Ramirez are below:
On bouncing back from a heartbreaking loss and snapping the five-game losing streak:
“I think it shows the character of our guys. Even last night, we had lost a whole of one-run games in a row and were eliminated the playoffs the night before. But they came out, jumped on the sticks, and got a six-run lead while Gabe (Benavides) came out and pitched a gem. Tonight, it was the same thing. Most teams would have called and said that’s it since it wasn’t going our way, but they didn’t do that.”
On jumping out to early leads:
“We came out hot tonight and continued to put pressure on them, scoring runs even when it was 5-0, 6-0, and 8-0. We just continued to keep going, so credit our guys because that really shows the character of this group.”
On Ramirez’s outing:
“I liked how he was getting ahead of guys. He’s got great, electric stuff. He has had it all year, the question has just been can he put it all together and not walk guys. He had a couple of those tonight but he came back and got some big ground balls and double plays.”
On Ramirez’s summer as a whole:
“I told the guys that he’s been a big part of our second half turnaround. He has one of the best ERAs on the team for guys who have pitched significant innings and there is no secret he’s been a big part of our rotation. He was one of those guys who stepped up when the others got shut down, and that was huge. We’re happy to have had Don, and he’s going home now, but we loved having him this year.”
On what was working for him tonight:
“I was just getting ahead in counts early. It was nice to get an early lead too. It sucks that we’re out of the playoff race, but that allowed me to get out there and do my thing without much pressure.”
On the advantage of pitching with a lot of run support:
“It’s the best feeling to go out there and be able to work on my stuff without worrying too much. It always feels really good.”
On his takeaways from his time with the GreyWolves:
“I really bonded with the guys. It was a great, fun time. We all meshed well and I’m excited to see what everyone will be doing when they get back to school.”