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Beavers' bats go quiet versus Reynolds

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior catcher Justin Wakem is one veteran leaders on a young Beaver baseball team looking to make noise in Metro this spring. Wakem can also play any position in the infield defensively.

Somebody get the Beaverton baseball team’s bats some smelling salts as soon as possible.

Not counting a seven-run outing against Canby, the Beavers’ sticks have been silent, scoring just seven runs in the last five games with the latest setback occurring Thursday in a 5-0 loss to Reynolds.

Because of strong pitching and defense, Beaverton finished the preseason at 4-4-1. Yet, outings like the Raider debacle where the Beavers collected just three hits could very well bite Beaverton in the backside as it tries to bark up the Metro’s elite tree.

“Our bats aren’t working right now,” said infielder Colin Lipps. “We need to get that in order, go back and compete. I think we can break out of this, go out there and smash the ball. This team doesn’t need to play small ball, I believe. We can smash. We just have to do it.”

“Our hitting is really lacking, I don’t know what’s going on with it,” added junior third baseman Robby Valentine. “We’re not thinking, really. We just have to start hitting because our defense is solid. We didn’t have any errors, but on offense, we have to step it up.”

Reynolds scored twice on a pair of RBI singles in the top of the second, and a two-out RBI double in the third to grab an early 3-0 lead. Beaverton had a chance to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth, after first baseman Josh Hill hit a single to right for the Beavers’ first hit.

With two outs, Valentine roped a base knock to the leftfield fence, yet was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double before Hill was able to cross home plate, therefore nullifying the run.

Lips had a two-out double to center and Hill ran out an infield single in the sixth, but both were stranded on base as the Raiders added two more scores to extend their lead to 5-0.

“Hitting is probably the most frustrating thing for our team right now, but I think we’ll fix it,” said senior catcher Justin Wakem.

In the batting cages both before the game and in practice, Beaverton is “hitting the crap out of the ball,” according to Lipps. But, Lipps said the trick is transferring those hitting sessions and same exact mechanics over to the diamond.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior rightfielder Drew Kimmer reaches out for a catch in the fourth inning against Reynolds.

“It seems like a simple fix, but obviously it’s pretty complicated right now,” said Lipps. “We just have to take what we’re doing in the cages and bring it out on the field.”

Going from batting practice pitching to facing live bullets is different, sophomore pitcher Sam Noyer said. It’s a mindset the Beavers have to change when they stride from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, and buckle in for every at-bat.

“You have to go up knowing you’re gonna get a hit and get on base,” said Noyer. “It’s you vs. the pitcher at plate. You have to take that mindset to the plate and try and beat him.”

Thursday’s outcome wasn’t the way Beaverton wanted to enter Metro play with a three-game series against archrival Southridge kicking off this week.

The Beavers agreed quiet outings at the dish versus Metro’s endless supply of quality arms could end their hopes of obtaining a league title. So, the trick is carrying those lessons learned on the practice field, over the yard.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton junior third baseman Robby Valentine throws a ball to first versus Reynolds on Thursday.

“In the cages we’re just mashing the ball,” said senior outfielder Sam Eppler. “But, it’s just energy and getting ready to come out and win and really hit the baseball well. We’re not doing that. You can’t really flip the switch going into Metro, but that’s what it looks like we have to do.”




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