Tualatin shuts out David Douglas to open state playoffs

by: DAN BROOD - WINNING PITCHER -- Tualatin junior Jacob Bennett shut out David Douglas on two hits while striking out 13 and walking just one. This year, things are different.

And the Tualatin High School baseball team couldn’t be happier about it.

The Timberwolves, who took high hopes into postseason play each of the past two years, only to suffer first-round losses, cleared that first-round hurdle in impressive style this year.

Tualatin picked up its first state playoff win since 2011 by scoring a 3-0 win over David Douglas in a Class 6A state playoff first-round game played Monday at Tualatin High School.

“This is a really big win for us, with what happened the last two years,” said Tualatin senior Brandon Shroyer, who played a part in knocking in all three Timberwolf runs in Monday’s game. “We really wanted to get this first game, and we didn’t want to overlook David Douglas.”

“It’s awesome to get out of the first round,” said Tualatin junior Jacob Bennett, who pitched the Wolves to the shutout victory. “We talked about what happened the last two years, but we have a completely new team this year, and we decided not to live in the past.”

David Douglas, the No. 4 team out of the Mt. Hood Conference, finished the season with a final overall record of 13-15.

by: DAN BROOD - HIGH GEAR -- Tualatin senior Joey Fishback looks to take a hard turn at first base as he doubled in the first inning of Monday's game. Tualatin, the Pacific Conference champion, upped its overall record to 22-5 with the win. The Wolves also advanced to the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, hosting Lincoln in a postseason tilt on Wednesday. Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press.

“This sure is a good feeling,” Tualatin coach Adam Strachan said of the Wolves’ win over David Douglas. “It’s nice to win that first one. But we know that every single game in the playoffs is truly a crapshoot.”

Bennett certainly seemed to do his part in making sure that Monday’s crapshoot turned out in Tualatin’s favor.

The hard-throwing right-hander gave up just two hits while striking out 13 and walking only one in getting the complete-game shutout.

“Jacob thew really well,” Strachan said. “He’s a great competitor and he lived in the strike zone. He’s been doing it all year.”

“I wanted to set a tone for the playoffs,” Bennett said. “(Tualatin junior pitcher) Karter (Cook) and I talked about how we wanted to come out and do that. We want people to know that were coming after the state championship. With our defense, and with (Tualatin senior catcher) Jake (Gellos) behind the plate, I felt confident.”

It also likely didn’t hurt that the Wolves were able to strike for some early runs against David Douglas senior pitcher Robert Pate, who also had a strong outing in Monday’s postseason contest.

“One of our goals is to do that every game,” Shroyer said. “That’s really important to us.”

by: DAN BROOD - NICE HIT -- Tualatin senior Brandon Shroyer (right) is congratulated by first-base coach Justin Burch after driving in a run during Monday's state playoff win over David Douglas.With that in mind, Tualatin wasted no time in taking the lead. Timberwolf senior Joey Fishback got things started, leading off the bottom of the first inning with a double to the gap in right-center field.

Fishback, timing his jump perfectly then stole third base. Gellos was then hit by a pitch, and he stole second base.

One out later, Shroyer smacked a hard-hit ground ball toward the second baseman, who couldn’t handle the hot shot. Fishback, leaving on contact, scored easily. Gellos also scored on the play, giving the Wolves a 2-0 lead.

Tualatin added on another run in the bottom of the third inning.

Gellos got things going when he reached first base on a David Douglas fielding error with one out in the frame. Gellos moved to second base on a single by senior Cooper Brunner. Shroyer then came through again, as he singled to left field, driving in Gellos to up the margin to 3-0.

by: DAN BROOD - OUTTA THERE -- Tualatin junior shortstop Tanner Marsh (left) tags out David Douglas' Tyler Kinne on a stolen base attempt in Monday's game.“Both times, when I got up, there were less than two outs,” Shroyer said. “I knew that if I’d hit the ball hard, we’d get a run in.”

“Brandon came through for us both time,” Strachan said.

Sophomores Chase Anderson and Nathan Senger also had hits for the Wolves.

Tualatin, if it won in its second-round game with Lincoln on Wednesday, will host either North Salem or McMinnville in a quarterfinal game on Friday.

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