Timberwolves roll in league baseball opener
TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School baseball team was looking to get off to a successful start to Three Rivers League play.
Well, to say that the Timberwolves accomplished that goal would be an understatement — one heck of a huge understatement.
Tualatin, scoring nine first-inning runs and keeping up the intensity throughout, rolled to a 20-0 win over Lakeridge in a Three Rivers League opener played Tuesday at Tualatin High School.
"It was good. It was definitely the way we wanted to start out," said Tualatin senior Chris Freese, who had a pair of doubles and drove in four runs in the victory. "We're expecting to be a force in this league, and it was great to see our work put into play."
"It's always important to get the first one out of the way, get those jitters out and get going with it," said Tualatin senior Danny Shell, who started on the mound and pitched four shutout innings while also driving in a pair of runs. "It was just a great way to get started, coming off a good week in Arizona and then a tough loss (4-3 at Hood River Valley) last night, but it felt good to get back on the right track."
With the loss, Lakeridge moved to 2-8 on the season with the setback. The Timberwolves upped their overall record to 6-2 with the victory. But, maybe more important is the 1-0 start to TRL play.
"For sure, this was important," Freese said. "It set the tone for league. We got some good wins in Arizona, and it's good to follow that up. League is important. We're looking for big stuff in the league."
Lakeridge, in Tuesday's league opener, actually had the first scoring threat of the contest. The Pacers opened the top of the first inning with back-to-back singles by junior Hayden Moore and senior Connor Utech, putting runners on first and second with no outs. But that didn't seem to bother Shell.
"I just had to stay focused," the left-hander said. "It's baseball, that happens. You just have to come back and throw some strikes and let my defense work."
Shell then struck out sophomore Spencer Santana for the first out of the frame. Tualatin junior third-baseman Jett Searle then turned a 5-3 double play to get out of the inning.
The Wolves then took off in their half of the first inning.
Junior Kyle Dernedde, leading off the frame, drew a walk. Lakeridge then committed back-to-back errors on grounders by senior Colby Jackson and junior Gavin Moore, with Dernedde scoring on the second miscue for the first run of the game.
Jackson then scored on a groundout by senior Cole Kinman. After that, walks to senior Kaden Cook and sophomore Blake Jackson loaded the bases with one out. Shell then drove in Moore with a sacrifice fly to left field, upping the margin to 3-0.
But Tualatin was far from done. Later in the first inning, the Wolves got a two-run double by Freese, a two-run single by Colby Jackson and a two-run triple by Moore, pushing the lead to 9-0 at the end of the frame.
"It was definitely great to get those nine runs on the board," Shell said. "As a pitcher, it takes a lot of the stress off. You know your team's got your back, and it feels good."
Shell doubled with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, and then scored on a double by Freese, to make the score 10-0. The Wolves then added on three more runs in the bottom of the third inning, with Moore, Kinman and Freese all having RBI hits in the frame, to make the score 13-0.
From there, Tualatin added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Wolves then scored five in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Cameron Springer, John Hensley, Sean Chamberlin, Freese and Ryan Webb all driving in runs in the frame, to wrap up the scoring in their 20-0 victory.
"This was really fun," Freese said. "Coming out and blowing out a team like this, showing domination, it was great."
"This was very fun, today," Shell said. "We can get used to putting up runs like this. We like it."
Shell, in his four innings of work on the mound, gave up no runs on three hits, while striking out six and walking none.
"That's what I expect from Danny on the mound," Freese said. "He's definitely improved from last year. I expect good stuff from him."
Tualatin, as a team, had 18 hits in the contest.
Freese went 3 for 4 at the plate with two doubles, a run scored and four RBIs. Shell went 3 for 3 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Chamberlin, who didn't get his first at-bat until the fourth inning, went 3 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Kinman went 2 for 6 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. Moore went 2 for 3 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs. Dernedde doubled and scored four times. Hensley drove in a pair of runs and Colby Jackson scored twice and drove in two runs.
"We get hot, and we feed off each other's energy," Freese said of the offensive attack. "Our team chemistry is really good."
Jack Olson pitched a pair of innings for the Wolves, and Cameron Perry threw the seventh inning to complete the shutout.
The teams are slated to finish their two-game series on Friday with a 5 p.m. game at Lakeridge High School. On Monday, the Wolves will open a two-game league series with West Linn with a 5 p.m. contest at Tualatin High School.