Bruins keep pace with baseball's unbeatens
Mount Hood Conference
Barlow's baseball team kept pace with the other unbeaten teams at the top of the Mount Hood Conference by sweeping a home doubleheader against Centennial on Friday night.
The Bruins got on the scoreboard first in Game 2 when Titus Dumitru led off with a double and scored when teammate Carter Loeb ended a long at-bat with a single to right field.
Carter Serafini singled in the next at-bat and used his feet to get Loeb home for a 2-0 lead. A quick jump off first base resulted in a balk on the pitcher and a free pass home.
"I noticed he lifted his leg, so I took off," Serafini said. "We stayed aggressive and took advantage of mistakes to keep piling on runs."
Jaren Hunter finished the inning with a two-out single to stretch the margin to 3-0.
A series of errors gave Centennial a chance to stay in the game, but Barlow starter Ben Zimmerman struck out a batter looking to strand a runner in the third inning. And a ground out to Cyle Calcagno left runners on the corners in the fourth.
Barlow took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning when Centennial put together its final push. Davis Landolt and Alex Bates connected for back-to-back singles, and Kyle Fitzgerald sent a two-out blooper into right field to end the shutout. But Zimmerman got the next batter swinging at a third strike to end the game without the tying run getting out of the batter's box.
"I relied a lot of my curveball and threw a lot of first-pitch strikes," Zimmerman said. "I work best when I'm up in the count. It allows me to throw more sporadically and to mix in some more pitches."
Zimmerman threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 29 (.690) batters and finished his complete-game effort with seven strikeouts.
With the win, Barlow kept pace with Clackamas and Central Catholic atop the league standings — all at 6-0.
The Bruins take on Clackamas in a three-game set this week, followed by a series against Central Catholic.
"This is what we've been preparing for all year, so that when we hit these tough league series we would be ready," Zimmerman said.
Durham Sundberg's early three-run homer allowed Barlow to carry a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning of Game 1, as well.
Only to see Centennial put together a two-out rally in the early game, tying the score on Andrew Caron's single through the middle.
Barlow regained command of the game with a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning, highlighted by Calcagno's bases-clearing double to left field.
"We got some early hits in that inning and just kept it going from there," Calcagno said. "We got the bats going and really set the tone for the next game."
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, April 16, print edition.