PHOTOS BY ERIC DEMELLO

Caleb King
Caleb King

Starter Caleb King surrendered just one hit over six shutout innings and fellow senior Jack Stempel collected three hits and four RBIs Saturday to lead the Taft High baseball team to a 10-1 non-league victory at Pleasant Hill.

Jack Stempel
Jack Stempel

“I was able to locate all of my pitches, which obviously helps any pitcher,” King said. “I always pitch really well with a lead, so when we jumped out 4-0 in the first, I already had triple confidence going into the bottom half.”

Taft added a run in the third and sixth innings before breaking the game open with another four-run stanza in the seventh in support of King, who gave way to senior reliever Josh Salsbery for the final three outs.

Josh Salsbery
Josh Salsbery

“We came out big in the first inning, which gave Caleb a cushion to pitch with, then continued to score throughout the game,” Stempel said. “I felt great at the plate and was seeing the ball really well.”

On verge of their third straight 10-0 victory, the Tigers surrendered a run in the bottom of the seventh, but emerged with their sixth straight victory. Senior outfielder Collin Good and senior infielder Braden Williamson collected the only hits for Pleasant Hill.

“This is getting to sound redundant, but we jumped on them early and forced some timely mistakes,” Taft Coach Matt Hilgers said.

King, first baseman Stempel and sophomore catcher Eli DeMello scored two runs each for Taft, while Salsbery, junior Tyee Fisher, sophomore Caleb Jones and freshman Darius Smith also scored for the Tigers.

Eli DeMello
Eli DeMello

“Jack had an absolute day at the plate with two doubles, so it was good to see him getting back into his hitting groove,” King said.

King, Fisher and Jones had two hits apiece, while Fisher had two RBIs. DeMello, King and junior Kam Kessler drove home one run each.

Tyee Fisher
Tyee Fisher
Kam Kessler
Kam Kessler

The first-ranked Tigers of the Class 3A West Valley League improved to 12-2 with the victory over the ninth-rated Billies of the 3A Mountain Valley Conference, who fell to 6-4.

“We are still focusing on using the momentum from these wins for the next game and rest of the season,” Stempel said.

Jack Stempel

Taft returns to West Valley play at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, at Willamina in a game postponed Friday by wet weather. The Tigers are scheduled to meet Class 3A Clatskanie of the Lewis & Clark League on the road at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, and will host Dayton in league play at 4:30 p.m. Friday. April 20.

Caleb Jones
Caleb Jones

Hilgers said the Tigers must look ahead, not back, in order to retain their drive into possible postseason play.

Trenton Fisher
Trenton Fisher

“We didn’t have the focus and energy that we had earlier in the week,” he said. “We need to work on maintaining that level of focus every game, and for the entire game. This was a good win to come on the road and not play our best baseball. We were strong on the mound and defensively again today. Those two things have really pushed us this year.”

taft tigers baseball

TEST YOUR TIGER IQ

TAFT 10, Pleasant Hill 1

TAFT                 AB  R  H BI
Josh Salsbery       4  1  0  0
Eli DeMello           4  2  1  1
Caleb King            4  2  2  1
Jack Stempel         4  2  3  4
Cody Knott            2  0  0  0
Kam Kessler          4  0  0  1
Tyee Fisher           4  1  2  2
Caleb Jones           3  1  2  0
Trenton Fisher       3  0  0  0
*Darius Smith       0  1  0  0
TOTALS               32 10 10  9

PLEASANT HILL        AB  R  H BI
Stephen Parmenter    3  0  0  0
Zach Hart                 2  1  0  0
Collin Good              3  0  1  0
Braden Pruitt            3  0  0  0
George Putnam         3  0  0  1
Braden Williamson     2  0  1  0
Collin Way                1  0  0  0
Jake Pray                 2  0  0  0
Jonathan Oljace       1  0  0  0
Garet Skelton         2  0  0  0
TOTALS               22  1  2  1

TAFT                          401 001 4 — 10
PLEASANT HILL           000 000 1 — 1

LOB–TAFT 11, PLEASANT HILL 2. ERR—Caleb Jones, Stephen Parmenter, George Putnam, Jake Pray, Collin Good. 2B–Jack Stempel (2), Braden Williamson. HBP—Josh Salsbery, Cody Knott. SACF–Kam Kessler. SACB–Cody Knott. SB–Josh Salsbery, Eli DeMello (3), Jack Stempel (2).

TAFT                            IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Caleb King (W)                 6.00    1    0    0    1    4    0
Josh Salsbery                  1.00    1    1    1    1    2    0
PLEASANT HILL
Jacob Hylemon (L)              1.00    2    4    2    1    0    0
Collin Way                     2.67    2    1    1    4    1    0
Stephen Parmenter              2.33    4    3    1    1    1    0
Collin Good                    1.00    2    2    0    0    3    0

PB–Eli DeMello. BB–Trenton Fisher, Caleb King, Eli DeMello, Cody Knott, Jack Stempel, Caleb Jones, Jonathan Oljace, Zach Hart.

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

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