Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Lofty stats certify Taft’s status as state’s best baseball team

Latest articles

K9 ‘Ghost’ to join Sheriff’s ranks

Lincoln County Sheriff's newest operator is K9 Ghost, a two-year-old German Shepherd who is slated to undergo training and certification to join the team in 2021.

High Wind Warning issued by NWS

National Weather Service Portland has issued a High Wind Warning Tuesday from seven a.m. until three p.m. for the Central Oregon Coast.

City seeks to fill multiple volunteer vacancies

The City of Lincoln City needs to fill over 20 vacancies left by outgoing volunteers for various committees and boards.

“Glaring” distinctions divide Congressional candidates

In the last day of what many voters feel is the critical election of their lives, the hotly-contested race in Oregon’s U.S. 5th District is poised on the glaring differences between two Congressional candidates — gutsy challenger Amy Ryan Courser and her six-term opponent, Kurt Schrader.

November 3rd looms closer at last

Whatever your political affiliation and views, the election craze is going to be over in what's now a matter of hours.

Courser claims ag abandoned by Schrader

The suddenly-tight race in the fertile U.S. 5th District could hinge on Oregon family farms and rural communities slammed by pandemic and wildfire, claimed the challenger to a six-term incumbent who has severed his official ties to agriculture.

Courser braces Schrader over law and order stand

Mounting the biggest challenge ever to an entrenched incumbent, Congressional candidate Amy Ryan Courser this week drew a stark battle line between her and six-term representative Kurt Schrader over law enforcement in the U.S. Fifth District.

Lincoln County discusses waiver of fees retroactively for wildfire victims

Lincoln County government met Monday to discuss possibly waiving construction fees for victims of the Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire and may do so retroactively to Sept. 8. 

Newport K9 team discovers commercial quantity of meth

Newport Police Officer Hayden Randall and his partner, K9 Nero, were responsible for discovering a commercial quantity of methamphetamine during a routine traffic violation...

NWS issues freeze warning for North, Central Oregon Coast

National Weather Service Portland issued a freeze warning Sunday night for the North and Central Oregon Coasts for 1-10 a.m. Monday.

Most popular

Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

MYSTERY SOLVED! D.B. Cooper was my friend

He was the soldier who became a skyjacker, the skyjacker who became a priest, and the priest who lived and died in Depoe Bay. He was D.B. Cooper, the most famous fugitive on earth, and he was my friend.

Fire strikes historic Otis Cafe on Independence Day

North Lincoln Fire Rescue units swarmed the Otis Cafe shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday to combat a fully involved fire at the iconic restaurant.

Highway 101 hole prompts ODOT to call in geologists

Oregon Department of Transportation officials have called in geologists Thursday to take core samples of a hole on southbound Highway 101 in Otis.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.

taft tigers state

The No.-1 ranked Taft High baseball team posted some gaudy numbers this season – the most important, of course, being 12-0, the team’s perfect record in winning the West Valley League regular-season championship.

But to amass a 22-2 overall mark by outscoring the opposition by almost 200 runs, it took some outstanding individual performances at the plate and on the mound for the Tigers — winners of 16 straight games.

Not surprisingly, it was the indomitable senior trio of Caleb King, Josh Salsbery and Jack Stempel who led the way. But don’t discount the undeniable contributions of players such as catcher Eli DeMello, designated hitter Caleb Jones, second baseman Cody Knott, third baseman Kam Kessler, left fielder Tyee Fisher, right fielder Trenton Fisher and reliever Bleiz Kimbrough for making this a team in every sense of the word.

While some stat nerds might argue that the Tigers’ astounding 156-8 scoring edge in league play (more than 13 runs per game) is the most eye-popping figure, it took innumerable intangibles such as unwavering unselfishness and overt camaraderie on top of talent to make Taft the best small-school baseball team in the state.

When head coach Matt Hilgers’ and assistant Jason King’s squad of overachievers takes the home field at 5 p.m. Thursday against Santiam Christian in a game to determine seeding for next week’s Class 3A State championships, these are among the immeasurable factors that will matter.

To get here, however, the Tigers had to assemble and sequence some staggering individual stats. Naturally, a look behind the numbers reveals that starts with team leadership – in other words, tri-captains King, Salsbery and Stempel.

King, playing center field when not pitching, led the Tigers in hitting with a .494 average and a team-high 42 RBIs from the No. 3 slot in the lineup. He scored 35 runs with 38 hits, including eight doubles.

Caleb King

Salsbery, the infield glue at shortstop, led the Tigers with 44 runs, six triples and 18 steals while batting .482 with 40 hits from the leadoff spot.

Josh Salsbery

Stempel, the cleanup-hitting first baseman and ace pitcher, batted .459 with 34 hits, 35 runs, 30 RBIs and a teamhigh 20 walks.

Jack Stempel

Then there was DeMello, a sturdy, speedy free-swinging catcher who led the Tigers in plate appearances (109) and at-bats (91) while tying Salsbery for the team lead in stolen bases and triples. Batting second, he hit .440 and scored 43 runs with 20 RBIs on 40 hits, including a team-leading 12 for extra bases.

Eli DeMello

Tyee Fisher

As if that wasn’t enough plate production, outfielder/designated hitter Jones batted .432; left fielder Tyee Fisher hit .387 with a team-high 10 doubles; second baseman Knott batted .354 with 28 hits, 27 runs and 26 RBIs; and third baseman Kessler batted .282 with six doubles, four triples, 23 runs and 26 RBIs.

Caleb Jones

Knott and Stempel had the only blasts over the fence for the Tigers, who batted .381 as a team.

Cody Knott

With hitting like that, who needs pitching, right?

Come again . . .

As impressive as the Tigers were in the batter’s box, they matched the numbers on the rubber.

Stempel went 7-1 in eight starts with three shutouts and a team-low 0.74 earned run average with 45 strikeouts in 47 innings.

King also fanned 45 batters in going 7-0 in eight starts with a 1.94 ERA in 36.3 innings.

Reliever and spot starter Kimbrough made 12 mound appearances, threw two shutouts and compiled 44 strikeouts with a 2.60 ERA in 32.3 innings.

Bleiz Kimbrough

Kessler was 5-0 with 21 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings with a 2.32 ERA and shared the team lead with Kimbrough in saves.


You can’t have great pitching without stellar defense, correct?

Led by the glove wizardry of sophomore Trenton Fisher in right, Taft committed just 35 errors in 24 games for a .945 fielding percentage.


Parlayed together, relentless hitting, shutdown pitching and stingy defense have made for a shiny diamond of success for the state’s most dominant baseball team.


Jim Fossum
Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.



Siletz barnstormer soars to new heights

Homepage was honored to take to the skies high above Lincoln City Thursday with Siletz Pilot Dana Andersen in a really old -- but new-- biplane.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



MYSTERY SOLVED! D.B. Cooper was my friend

He was the soldier who became a skyjacker, the skyjacker who became a priest, and the priest who lived and died in Depoe Bay. He was D.B. Cooper, the most famous fugitive on earth, and he was my friend.

Depoe Bay’s Pogo Robison passes

A larger-than-life figure in “The World’s Smallest Harbor” passed away Saturday, May 30, after battling recent health problems.

VIDEO: Pacific Ocean shows why it’s ‘King’

The Pacific Ocean snuck its way from Nelscott Beach onto SW 35th Street Saturday, as a crowd of storm watchers witnessed concrete benches and logs displaced by the raw fury of the sea during King Tide.

New DMV fees take effect Jan. 1, 2020

New Oregon vehicle registration, title and trip permit fees will take effect Jan. 1, 2020, as part of "Keep Oregon Moving," the biggest transportation investment in state history.

City seeks to fill multiple volunteer vacancies

The City of Lincoln City needs to fill over 20 vacancies left by outgoing volunteers for various committees and boards.

Digging up the past: Heinous 1984 Lincoln City crimes shock the nation

Thirty-four years ago this month -- with Halloween looming -- local mortician Dale Patrick Omsberg became the subject of the most expansive criminal investigation in Lincoln County history.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing Open in Depoe Bay, Waldport

Feeling feverish? Are you coughing? You say you suddenly can’t smell or taste that great home cooking?

A hike for all ages: Drift Creek Falls

Thirty minutes from Lincoln City in the Suislaw National Forest, lies the Drift Creek Falls Trailhead, a three mile (round-trip) semi-easy hike for all ages with a rewarding 75 foot water fall at the end. 

Scout Troop 47 Christmas tree fundraiser

Boy Scout Troop 47 is having a Christmas tree fundraiser at the Lincoln City Cultural Center to pay for the Scout's summer camp.