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May dominates, Sunset baseball beats Southridge 3-0

Apollo senior pitcher Dillon May throws a complete game, two-hit shutout gem to take out Skyhawks

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset senior pitcher Dillon May threw a complete game shutout against Southridge on May 10.

On senior day, with Sunset's playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Apollo senior pitcher Dillon May delivered the performance of his three-year career.

In a big game the Apollos needed to keep pace with both Jesuit and Glencoe while also staying in front of Southridge in the Metro League standings, May was magnificent, throwing a complete game two-hit shutout to beat the Skyhawks 3-0 on May 10 at Sunset High School.

With the win, Sunset moved to 8-7 in Metro and into a three-way tie with the defending state champion Crusaders and up-and-coming Crimson Tide for fourth place in the conference. It was the Apollos' third straight win — this after sweeping Glencoe to remain in the hunt for the league's fourth and final automatic Class 6A playoff berth.

The weight of the moment — with Southridge just a half game back of Sunset and nearly as desperate for a win because of its No. 32 ranking in the state power rankings — wasn't lost on May.

"I wanted the ball," May said. "I felt it tonight. I had faith in my teammates and was just willing to do whatever was needed to help my team be successful. I tried to clear my head and just believed I could do it. It was a great team win."

The Apollos have made the first round of the 6A playoffs the past three seasons. It's a proud streak May and company hopes to extend another year — only this time Sunset aspires to win a game or two when and if they get there.

"We want to go as far as possible," May said. "This is kind of our last chance to get it. It's going to be interesting the next couple of weeks. We just have to stay positive, stay motivated and driven to win."

After a season-stamping upset win over Beaverton last week, Southridge received an outstanding outing junior right-handed pitcher Zach Staley, who went the distance on the mound, striking out seven Sunset hitters with a mix of spell-binding breaking pitches and fastballs down the hatch. The Skyhawks just couldn't summon the same sort of run support against May, who was dialed in from the opening pitch.

"(Staley) pitched a hell of a game, but we didn't support him, and that's baseball sometimes," Southridge junior shortstop Connor Fajardo said. "(May)'s off-speed pitches were sensational today. He fooled a lot of our hitters, but we just have to come back ready to go tomorrow. Guys tried to compete and we were there the entire game."

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge junior pitcher Zach Staley was stellar in six innings of work against Sunset.

With May grooving, the only offense Sunset truly needed transpired in the bottom of the third inning. Nursing a 1-0 lead with Danner Whittle on first base, Apollo senior shortstop Jason DuMont, hitting right-handed, roped a hard opposite field shot to right. The ball singed past the Skyhawk outfield and gave Whittle enough time to shoot home and slide ahead of the tag to go up 2-0. DuMont moved to third on the play. And Tyler Sumner laid down a perfect suicide squeeze in front of home plate that Staley scooped, but couldn't flip to Southridge catcher Brady Boling at home in time to nab DuMont who made a break toward the dish at the sight of contact. Two key instances executed properly equated to two runs.

"We're a scrappy team," May said. "When you do the right things and put the ball in play, good things happen. All the extra time we've put in the (batting) cage has paid off. We just have to keep motivating everybody and keep it going."

The right-handed May had total command of his pitching arsenal all afternoon, quickly working through a potentially potent Skyhawk lineup with pace and proficiency on the bump. Southridge is a team that thrives on the base paths. Once the Skyhawks reach the bags, head coach Kyle Chamberlain deploys an all-out running attack that puts pressure on both the pitcher and the defense to be completely dialed in. The slightest misstep can cause a car pile up of commotion. Against May, however, Southridge simply couldn't get anything good to hit, let alone get on base.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset second baseman Tyler Sumner threws a ball to first base for an out versus Southridge.

The senior Apollo hurler didn't give the Skyhawks anything enticing enough to put a solid swing on, which resulted in numerous routine plays for Sunset's defense. Cans of corn were common place with May in complete control, as were quick innings. In the top of the fifth, May only needed five pitches to cajole Southridge into three outs. And in the seventh, sans an infield single from Ryan Lambert, May mowed through the Skyhawk lineup on just nine offerings. He was fast, efficient and pitched to contact — the kind of pitcher a defense likes to back up. Boling's single was the only other Skyhawk hit in a game that breezed by.

"We like to get guys on base and get them over aggressively, but it's tough when you can't do the job," Fajardo. "You just have to tip your cap to (May). He was great all game."

Sunset continued its hot streak with a 4-0 win over Southridge on May 11 to clinch fourth in Metro and complete the two-game sweep. The Apollos are currently No. 27 in the OSAA power rankings after winning its final five Metro games and finishing 9-7 in league. They will play the No. 6 team on May 22 against a to-be-determined opponent at a TBD location and time.

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - The Southridge baseball team was swept by Sunset this week to finish off the Metro League season.