Dirtbags fall short at state tournament

SALEM — The Demarini Dirtbags fell short in their quest for an American Legion state title, losing to Eugene 6-5 in 12 innings on Aug. 2 in a semifinals matchup.

The Dirtbags led 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning, when Challengers third baseman Marcus Lydon hit a two-run single for the walk-off win.

“It was one of the greatest games,” Dallas High coach Scot McDonald said. “Guys were doing great things offensively and had good defense behind it to shut it down. Everyone was focused knowing the winner was going to the championship (game).”

The Dirtbags advanced to the state tournament’s final day after going 3-1, defeating the Northwest Star Academy Knights, Withnell Dodgers and Portland Barbers and losing to eventual champion Medford.

“We created this program and this team for these types of circumstances,” McDonald said. “We want the kids to get to play and compete at high levels. It’s more of an all-star type concept. There’s a lot more pressure to perform and they learn how to play with that pressure, which is huge.”

With the Dirtbags’ season coming to a close and a new school year rapidly approaching, for many of the Dragons’ baseball players, their attention will turn toward new sports — a fact that McDonald said can help strengthen the squad.

“Whatever you do, just go compete,” McDonald said. “Learn how to play with pressure, compete and become more athletic. … Really work on getting bigger, faster and stronger.”

The Dirtbags may have fallen just short of their ultimate goal of a state title, but McDonald said that his team is already chomping at the bit.

“The kids are excited about wanting to have the opportunity to do something (great) next year,” McDonald said. “It’s good to see they’re excited.”

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