No. 17 Westview baseball hangs on for road 'upset' of No. 16 Grant
The theme for No. 17 Westview High baseball in 2022 continued: playing close games all the way to the end.
Clinging to a 3-1 lead in the first round of the Class 6A state tournament against No. 16 Grant at Joe Etzel Field at the University of Portland, the Wildcats had an error and two walks to load the bases, and then walked home a run to make it 3-2.
Despite things seemingly going in the wrong direction, pitcher Noah Shea hung in there and picked up a strikeout to end the sixth inning threat and put his team three outs away.
Westview closed it out in order and advanced to the second round with the 3-2 "upset" win.
"Unfortunately, we've put ourselves into situations where we give up a lot of unearned runs and we have to battle back," Westview coach Matt Bailie said. "Hopefully some of those experiences now lead into the playoffs, we've been there and done that, so now we have that confidence that we're going to get it done."
Getting it done for the Wildcats was starting sophomore pitcher Cole Katayama-Stall.
The young pitcher was unphased and only gave up a first inning run to Grant in his five innings of work. Katayama-Stall gave up four hits over those five frames.
Equally as important, the sophomore came up with the clutch hit in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third. He lined a single to the outfield to bring them both home and put Westview up 3-1 after the Wildcats also scored a lone run in the first.
"He started out the season a little slow and then just kept picking it up and he's been on a tear lately," Bailie said. "We gave him the week off on the mound last week to prepare and have a fresh arm. He came out and gave us five great innings, battle tough.
"He's stepped up as a sophomore and has been a great leader here."
In the sixth, Bailie handed the ball over to Shea, who struggled a bit to find the zone, walking three out of four batters to bring home a run for Grant with a chance for plenty more.
Instead of falling off the cliff, though, the senior hung on and gave his team a sigh of relief they carried over into the 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh.
"Shea is our guy, the one we need to mix it up when we need to go soft," Bailie said. "He has what we kind of call an 'invisiball' -- he just throws the fastball and guys swing and miss. It's amazing what he does, plays a great defensive third base too."
It's on to the next round for Westview. The Wildcats will play top seed Lakeridge on Wednesday.
The two met up for a nonleague match up at the end of the regular season, so there is plenty of familiarity despite playing in separate leagues. The Pacers won the game 6-2.
"We're going to battle. We just played them last week and we know what they've got," Bailie said. "We just gotta go out and play loose, play carefree. We're stepping onto their yard. They're top-ranked … we're going in as the underdogs … we've got nothing to lose."
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