The Pacers rally for a 5-3 victory over Centennial

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge pitcher Cooper Webster applies a tag for the final out of the game in the Pacers' 5-3 win over Centennial.Lakeridge's baseball team got past a solid effort from Centennial in its play-in game Tuesday, advancing to the playoff tournament to play Lincoln on Monday.

The Pacers got off to a slow start in the game, giving up three runs in the first two innings but Cooper Webster came on in relief midway through the second inning and shut the Eagles out for the remainder of the contest.

“Cooper definitely had some of his best stuff today,” coach Colin Griffin said.

After spotting Centennial a run in the top of the first, Lakeridge struck in the bottom of the inning when Jack Daraee reached after a dropped third strike and Dutton Elske scored him with an RBI double.

Centennial scored twice in the top of the second after loading the bases with one out. An RBI bunt and a bases loaded walk gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead before Webster got a strikeout to limit the damage.

In the bottom of the second, Lakeridge got a run back on a two-out RBI single by Kevan Thomas which scored Austin Ruffner.

The Pacers wouldn't take the lead until the bottom of the fourth. Jacob Tipton led off with a single and was moved to second on a bunt from Ruffner.

A single by Mitch Mueller put runners at the corners and Thomas then put down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt, reaching first base with a hit and scoring Tipton to tie the game.

Then, with two outs and runners on second and third, Daraee rocked a two-run double off the top of the fence to give the Pacers the lead.

“It's all about timely hitting when you get to the postseason,” Griffin said.

Centennial threatened to rally in the top of the sixth. A passed ball on a third strike and a pair of infield hits loaded the bases with just one out.

Then, after a short fly-out to centerfield, Bo McClintock made a potentially game-saving pick on a hard ground ball at third base to record the final out of the inning.

Webster would pitch a perfect seventh inning to propel Lakeridge into the next round.

The Pacers will travel to Lincoln Monday and Griffin is confident his team can match up with anyone it sees in the playoffs.

“We took two of three from West Linn and nearly took two of three from Clackamas and we've seen some of the best arms in the state,” Griffin said.

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