West Linn baseball routs Newberg 11-0 on Friday
You could almost hear the sighs of relief around the state last spring.
"We'll never have to pitch to Tim Tawa again."
"We aren't going to have to worry about Jake Porter anymore."
"At least we won't have Chase Cosner running down our fly balls again."
While all that's true — the three graduated West Linn senior stars have taken their games to the collegiate level — the 2018 Lions are creating plenty of new worries for opponents.
Just ask Newberg. Two days ago, the Lions pounded the Tigers 10-2 in their Three Rivers League opener. On Friday, West Linn was back at it again, routing Newberg 11-0 at West Linn High School to improve to 2-0 in the young TRL season.
"I think our coaches are having us have great approaches at the plate, so one through nine, we've been hitting the ball well so that's good to see," said West Linn senior shortstop James Marshall, who went 3 for 4 at the plate, scored once and knocked in one run on Friday.
"We went a little cold down in California, but we started to heat up Wednesday and we got a couple of good hits in key situations and put some runs up on the board, which was good," said West Linn senior catcher Micah Gibson, who went 2 for 3 at the plate, drove in two runs with a fourth-inning single and also scored twice.
The win, the Lions' third straight, lifted West Linn's TRL record to 2-0 and its overall mark to 6-4, while Newberg lost for the 11th straight time, falling to 0-2 in league play and 0-11 overall.
Friday's first inning was a microcosm of the two teams' seasons, with the Tigers squandering a bases-loaded, no-outs opportunity in the top of the first, while the Lions took advantage of a Newberg error to score three times in their half of the inning.
In its opening at-bat, Newberg's Derek Maiben, Anthony Stigall and Cameron Laroche collected three straight hits off West Linn senior starter Zach Anderson, but the Tigers did not score. Anderson got Brandon Cervantes to pop up, then induced Kyle Kruse to ground into an inning-ending double play started by Marshall.
In its half of the first, West Linn opened with an opposite-field double to left by Marshall and got its first run when Newberg dropped Garrett Marioni's fly ball in West Linn's sun-drenched left field.
Gibson followed with a walk, Zach Bell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and after a bloop double by Griffin Banta, J.J. Hoover made it 3-0 when he doubled to center field and brought home Gibson.
West Linn wouldn't score again until the bottom of the fourth, but Anderson made sure it didn't matter. He set the Tigers down in order in the second and third frames, then gave up a single in the fourth but still faced the minimum of three batters thanks to another double play, this one started by a great scoop by Hoover at first.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Lions tacked on three more runs, getting a run-scoring grounder by Marioni and a two-run single to center field by Gibson to lead 6-0.
After another 1-2-3 inning by Anderson, West Linn pushed across three more runs to lead 9-0 in the fifth, with Drew Vannaman collecting an RBI single and Marshall's hit up the middle bringing home two more against Newberg reliever Connor Nipp.
Anderson gave up a walk and a single (to Laroche) in the sixth — but no runs — and the Lions added their final two runs against Tiger relief pitcher Brandon Ferris in the bottom of the stanza. Gibson reached base on an error to get things started, Bell singled to left and Hoover brought Gibson home on a groundout. Vannaman then hit a stand-up triple to right-center field for the final 11-0 margin.
West Linn's Tate Kadel then came on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning to get the save.
"The pitching has been good, honestly," Marshall said. "Even in California (on the team's spring break trip), I was pretty impressed with our pitching."
"Joey (Campbell), he didn't get much playing time last year and he's worked really hard in the offseason and he's thrown a ton of strikes and has been doing awesome," Gibson said. "Same thing with (Anderson) — he worked hard in the offseason, got a little up on his (velocity) and he's been looking good so far."
For the game, Vannaman went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Marioni and Garrett Wiancko both scored twice. Anderson threw six innings, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out five.
For Newberg, Laroche went 3 for 3 at the plate, while no other Tiger had more than one hit. Maiben threw four innings, allowing eight hits and one walk while striking out four.