Tigers break through in dramatic fashion
Nearing the end of what has been a trying season in which it hasn't gotten much traction, the Newberg baseball team finally put it all together in a thrilling 4-3 win over Canby last week.
For a squad that has often struggled to contain opposing offenses, the Tigers battled back and forth with the Cougars before Brandon Cervantes delivered the win at home May 2 with a walk-off home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning.
"When I saw it in the air, I thought it might be going foul," Cervantes said. "Once I saw it go over the fence, it felt amazing. It was an amazing experience. It's still sinking in for me a little bit."
The Cougars opened up the three-game series May 1 with an 11-1 victory in Canby, but it was a close affair throughout game 2 the next day. Starting pitcher Cam Laroche gave up a solo home run in the first inning, but settled in after that to duel back and forth with counterpart Sean Wiese.
Jordan Beaudry laced a two-run single in the bottom of the first to make it 2-1, but Wiese held the Tigers in check for the next five innings.
Canby took advantage of a throwing error in the top of the sixth to tie the contest 2-2, but Newberg answered right back with an RBI single from Laroche, with Jacob Maiben scoring the go-ahead run.
The Cougars put the pressure right back on the Tigers in the top of the seventh, although things could have gotten out of hand if not for a diving stop and throw to first by third baseman Jacob Maiben to open the inning.
A hit batsmen and a single quickly put two runners on for Wyatt McGraw, who lifted a double to deep right field. The tying run scored easily from second, but McGraw got caught in a pickle between second and third, with the Tigers eventually getting the lead runner out between third and home to keep the game knotted at 3-3. That proved to be critical as Laroche induced a ground ball out to end the inning, setting the stage for Cervantes, who blasted his shot over the right field fence on the second pitch.
"It feels amazing," Cervantes said. "We had Cam Laroche pitch a really nice game. We played really good defensively and that's what it takes to win a good ball game."
Canby got the last laugh in the series, getting two runs in the bottom of the seventh Friday to win 5-4, plating the winning run with a sacrifice fly on a fittingly close play at home plate.
"For us and them, it was going to be who had the last ups kind of game," NHS coach Tyler Matlock said. "It was back and forth pretty much the whole game and two well-coached teams."
The Tigers (2-21, 2-12 Three Rivers League) will host Tigard at 5 p.m. Wednesday before finishing out the season Friday in Tigard.