Monday, October 18, 2021

Tigers move to brink of baseball league title with 23-0 rout of Amity

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Cody Knott had four hits and six RBIs, and Caleb King and Jack Stempel combined on a one-hitter Tuesday as the No. 1-ranked Taft High baseball team moved to within a victory of the West Valley League championship by trouncing Amity 23-0 in five innings.

The first-place Tigers (18-2, 9-0), who won their 12th straight game and their ninth straight shortened by the state’s 10-run mercy rule, can clinch the league title Friday by defeating second-place Santiam Christian for a season sweep of the Eagles (13-6, 7-2).

“We continue to apply pressure on teams,” Taft Coach Matt Hilgers said. “We avoided looking past them with a big game coming up Friday.”

Taft opened the road victory with a run in the first inning before the floodgates opened with six in the second, seven in the third and six in the fourth behind King. The senior starter struck out six in four innings while surrendering a lone hit to Amity junior catcher West Streeter.

Stempel mopped up with two strikeouts in an inning of work. The senior first baseman was an even bigger presence at the plate with four runs and four RBIs on a double and a triple for the Tigers.

Senior shortstop Josh Salsbery collected three hits and also scored four times. Knott, a junior second baseman, sophomore catcher Eli DeMello, junior outfielder Tyee Fisher and King scored three runs each for Taft. Fisher had three hits and DeMello and sophomore Caleb Jones three RBIs.

“We were able to get a couple younger guys in tonight,” Hilgers said. “We have a couple of adjustments to make before Friday’s game.”

While numbers mean little – and even less to Hilgers and his staff — the Tigers have outscored the opposition 228-58 in 20 games this season to 143-100 in 19 games for second-place Santiam Christian.

Taft’s numbers’ against common league opponents are nothing short of astounding. While the Eagles have built their 7-2 conference mark with a 75-32 scoring edge, the Tigers’ 9-0 record has been accomplished behind a scoring margin of 128-3 or nearly 15 runs per game. Consider, too, that only one of Taft’s league games has gone the distance due to the state’s 10-run mercy rule.


Taft defeated Santiam Christian 10-0 at home in a game shortened by the mercy rule on April 10. A victory in Friday’s 4:30 p.m. road game would ensure the Tigers of a share of first place and give them the league’s top seed based on a tiebreaking sweep of the Eagles,

Taft 23, Amity 0

Josh Salsbery 4 4 3 1
Bleiz Kimbrough 1 0 0 1
Eli DeMello 4 3 2 3
Caleb King 4 3 2 1
Lucas Hindman 1 0 0 0
Jack Stempel 2 4 2 4
Cody Knott 5 3 4 6
Kam Kessler 4 0 1 1
Jordan Hall 0 1 0 0
Tyee Fisher 4 3 3 2
Trenton Hall 1 1 0 0
Caleb Jones 5 0 2 3
Darius Smith 5 1 2 1
TOTALS 40 23 21 23

Luke Johnston 3 0 0 0
Alex Nyseth 1 0 0 0
Braedon Bailey 1 0 0 0
Brody Roberts 2 0 0 0
West Streeter 2 0 1 0
Russel Brown 1 0 0 0
Jacob Bernards 0 0 0 0
Jordan Dyche 2 0 0 0
Keenum Grahm 1 0 0 0
Dylan Nyseth 1 0 0 0
Brian Hatch 1 0 0 0
Harvey Hoff 1 0 0 0
TOTALS 16 0 1 0

TAFT 167 63 — 23
AMITY 000 00 — 0

LOB–TAFT 10, AMITY 4. ERR–Cody Knott, Cody Dyche, Braedon Bailey, Alex Nyseth (3). 2B–Tyee Fisher, Cody Knott, Jack Stempel, West Streeter. 3B–Kam Kessler, Jack Stempel. HBP–Jacob Bernards. SB–Josh Salsbery, Darius

Caleb King (W) 4.00 1 0 0 1 6 0
Jack Stempel 1.00 0 0 0 1 2 0
West Streeter (L) 3.00 13 14 11 4 3 0
Jd Stables 2.00 8 9 6 4 4 0
BB–Bleiz Kimbrough, Caleb King, Jordan Hall, Eli DeMello (2), Jack Stempel (3), Dylan Nyseth, Keenum Grahm.

Taft roster/schedule
Class 3A West Valley League standings
Class 3A OSAA rankings

Jim Fossum
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, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.

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