Timberwolves rally back in the dark
TUALATIN — It was wild.
It was thrilling. It was crazy.
And, at the end, it was dark — really, really dark.
The Tualatin and West Linn high school baseball team fought back-and-forth, each squad coming up with exciting, clutch late-game rallies. But neither team could claim a victory on Monday. Instead, darkness won out.
The clubs, who each entered the game as part of a four-way tie for first place in the Three Rivers League standings, battled their way to a 9-9 tie through seven innings of action at Tualatin High School. It was at that point that it was deemed too dark to continue play, suspending the game.
The game is slated to pick up right where it left off, with the Lions coming up to bat in the top of the eighth inning, Wednesday at West Linn High School, starting at 4:30 p.m., prior to the teams' regularly scheduled league contest.
"That was crazy," said Tualatin junior shortstop Kyle Dernedde, as he stood in the darkness in front of the Timberwolves' dugout at the end of play. "They're always a good club, and we feel like we have something to prove this year. We felt undeniable. We weren't going to let that (a loss) happen, especially on our home turf. And the game's not over yet. Obviously, there's still a lot to play."
"This was really fun," said Tualatin senior Colby Jackson, who doubled in the tying runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. "Close games, you got to love them."
West Linn ended the day the same way it started, with an overall record of 6-4. Tualatin stayed at 7-2.
"As a team, we've been hitting really well," Dernedde said. "It's good to see the bats working, and our defense is coming in, too. Overall, I feel like we're playing good baseball, and we have a lot more left to do."
West Linn scored the first run in Monday's marathon, getting an unearned tally in the top of the first inning.
Tualatin came roaring back in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Chris Freese got things going with a one-out double to right-center field. Senior Sean Chamberlin then drew a walk. One out later, Dernedde walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Jackson then hit a ground ball to the right side, but, sprinting to the base, and diving straight out, he beat West Linn first baseman J.J. Hoover to the bag. Freese and Chamberlin both scored on the infield single, giving Tualatin a 2-1 lead.
"That's what (Tualatin coach Jake) Austin has been preaching a lot, leave everything on the field," Jackson said.
After Dernedde and Jackson each moved up a base on a passed ball, junior Gavin Moore came through with a two-run single to center field. Moore would score from third base later in the frame on a balk, capping off the scoring in the big inning, giving Tualatin a 5-1 lead.
But West Linn came back. The Lions scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning, with the big hit of the frame being a two-run double by senior Micah Gibson, to cut the lead to 5-4.
Tualatin junior relief pitcher Cameron Atkinson put West Linn down in order in the sixth inning, preserving the one-run lead for the moment. But the Lions rallied again in the top of the seventh.
West Linn, taking advantage of two walks, three hit batters (Tualatin pitcher hit eight West Linn batters in the contest) and getting an RBI double by Hoover, scored five runs in the frame to take what looked to be a safe 9-5 lead.
But, even with darkness setting in, the Wolves weren't about to give up.
"Going up there with the idea of just getting something done," Dernedde said. "It was hard to see the ball come out of (the pitcher's) hand, to be honest. But, our guys stepped up. We weren't done yet, and we still aren't."
Senior Kaden Cook singled to left field to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Blake Jackson and Freese followed with back-to-back doubles, making the score 9-7. Two outs later, Dernedde drew a walk, bringing Colby Jackson to the plate. Jackson then doubled to right-center field, driving in both Freese and Dernedde, tying the game at 9-9.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play and make something happen," Colby Jackson said.
A pop out ended the inning. At that point, the game was suspended due to darkness.
"It was a good one," Dernedde said. "I always love playing against these guys. It's always great competition."
"It was good," Colby Jackson said. "We battled the entire time and we played all seven innings, which was good."
Tualatin, as a team, had 13 hits in the contest. Colby Jackson went 3 for 5 at the plate with a double, a run scored and four RBIs. Freese went 2 for 4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. Cook went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Dernedde went 2 for 3 with a triple, two walks and two runs scored. Blake Jackson went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
For West Linn, senior Zach Anderson went 3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Senior James Marshall and junior J.K. Kelly each had two hits and Gibson drove in three runs.
Prior to Monday's game, the Wolves scored an 11-5 win over Lakeridge in a league game played Friday at Lakeridge High School.
Freese went 3 for 4 at the plate in that game, with a run scored and three RBIs. Colby Jackson went 2 for 4 with a double, a run scored and three RBIs. Moore and senior Cole Kinman each had two hits and two RBIs. Cook and Dernedde each had two hits and two runs scored.
The Wolves will be back in action on Friday, when they host Sherwood in a league game starting at 5 p.m. The teams will play the second game of their series Monday, starting at 5 p.m., at Sherwood High School.