Gerkman's shutout keeps Tigard rolling
TIGARD — Sam Gerkman had a feeling that he was going to have a pretty good day.
As it turned out, he was correct — he was definitely correct.
Gerkman, a junior left-handed pitcher for the Tigard High School baseball team, was masterful on the mound as he helped the Tigers roll to a 5-0 win over Wilsonville in a Tigard Spring Classic contest played Monday at Tigard High School.
"As soon as I got in the bullpen, I knew I was feeling great today," Gerkman said after the victory. "My arm was feeling great and I knew, even before the game started, that there was something in my mind that was telling me that they weren't going to score. Even after they got a triple to lead off the (sixth) inning, I knew that run wasn't going to score."
"That felt good. It was a good win," said Tigard senior shortstop Michael Quintana, who had three hits in the win. "We knew Wilsonville was pretty good."
With the loss, Wilsonville moved to 3-4 on the season to that point. Tigard improved to 6-1, to that point, with the victory.
"Just brotherhood," Quintana said of the key to the Tigers' early success. "We're playing well together."
"We're just really good teammates, and we've been playing together since we were young, so we have a really good chemistry," Gerkman said. "Also, there's a ton of talent on this team, and I feel really good about the way we've been playing. I think we can keep this going for a really long time."
Gerkman, with his breaking ball keeping Wilsonville batters guessing all game, allowed just four hits in the compete-game victory, striking out seven and walking none.
"A lot of people think that it's just me being cocky, but if I can lock into that mentality, I can make it happen," Gerkman said. "And the defense was great. Ethan (Clark) made an amazing play and Q (Quintana) made a few really good plays and Lance (Kreisberg) probably had a couple. C.J. (Rivers) had a couple nice digs. Everything just came together this game."
"He threw strikes," Quintana said of Gerkman. "That's all we needed, and we made the plays on defense."
Tigard, the designated visiting team in Monday's game, took control early, getting a pair of runs in the top of the first inning.
Tiger senior Nick Heinke led off the game with a single. Quintana followed with a hit-and-run single to center field, with Heinke moving to third base on the hit. One out later, Heinke scored on a sacrifice fly by Rivers, giving Tigard a 1-0 lead. Kreisberg then tripled to left field, plating Quintana to make the score 2-0.
"That helped a ton," Gerkman said of the quick 2-0 lead. "It made me feel a lot more comfortable on the mound."
The score stayed at 2-0 until the Tigers added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore Tyler Penn singled to lead off the inning, and Heinke and Quintana both drew walks, loading the bases with one out. Penn and Heinke then both scored when Wilsonville couldn't handle Fletcher Ahl's hard-hit grounder, upping the lead to 4-0.
Tigard added another run in the top of the sixth inning, when senior Joey Cavalli singled in senior Sam Pittmon, making the score 5-0.
Wilsonville threatened to score in the bottom of the frame, when senior Trevor Antonson led off with a triple to center field. Gerkman then got Ben VavRosky to pop out to Quintana at shortstop. Halden Bjornson then struck out on a pitch in the dirt, or turf, as it may be. But Cavalli, Tigard's catcher, instead of making a throw to first to get Bjornson out, saw Antonson too far off third base, and made a throw down to Kreisberg at the bag. Antonson broke for home and Gerkman, covering the plate, took a throw from Kreisberg and made a sweeping tag on Antonson for the out, keeping the shutout intact.
Gerkman then put the Wildcats down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to wrap up the 5-0 victory.
"We played solid defense, and got the hits when we needed them," Quintana said.
Quintana went 3 for 3 at the plate, with a walk and a run scored in the win. Heinke had a hit and scored twice.
Prior to the win over Wilsonville, Tigard bested Liberty 12-1 in a Tigard Spring Classic game on Saturday.
Rivers, a Tigard junior, had a big day in that victory. Rivers picked up the pitching win, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out eight and walking one in six innings of work. He also went 2 for 4 at the plate, with a home run, a run scored and two RBIs.
Kreisberg went 3 for 5, with two runs scored and two RBIs. Heinke had two hits and senior Micah O'Donnell scored a pair of runs.
The Tigers will finish play at the Spring Classic on Wednesday with a 9 a.m. game against Westview.
Tigard will open its Three Rivers League schedule Wednesday, when it hosts Sherwood at 4:30 p.m.