Barlow knocks off rivals to stay in hunt
Tuesday, May 7
Barlow's baseball team led start to finish in an 8-2 win over rival Gresham on Tuesday night that kept the Bruins alive in the Mount Hood Conference title chase.
Kanyan Wallace delivered the first big blow with a two-run homer over the left-field fence for a 3-1 lead in the second inning.
"The sun was in my eyes, so all I could see was their guy running toward the fence, then I figured it must have gone over," Wallace said. "It helped us out to start a rally and get some runs on the board early."
An RBI-double by Wilson Weber, and a line drive to left field by Titus Dumitru extended the lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning before the Bruins hit any kind of trouble.
Gresham's Hunter Snow doubled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and a single by Reece McKenzie and a walk by Jack Nehler would load up the bases with no one out.
Barlow ace Jaren Hunter got the next batter looking at a third strike — one of his seven strikeouts on the night.
"I was just really focused on the batter and getting that first out, so we'd be able to get out of the inning with a double play," Hunter said.
What came next proved to be the play of the game.
Christian Figueroa knocked a grounder through the right side to plate Hunter Snow. The Gophers tried to score another on the play, but Barlow's right fielder Durham Sundberg charged the ball and whipped a laser throw home where Wilson Weber applied the tag for the second out.
"I saw the ball slip through the infield, and I knew they had a faster than normal runner going for it," Sundberg said. "But I wasn't too far away. I just had to deliver a good throw."
"Durham shut down the whole thing with that one play," Hunter said.
Hunter struck out the next batter on three pitches, and the Bruins remained comfortably on top by four runs.
Gresham tried for one more late rally after McKenzie beat out an infield single to lead off the seventh inning. He advanced to third on a wild pick-off throw, but the door home remained closed when Cyle Calcagno and Carter Serafini combined on a double play to end the game.
Weber led the Bruins by going 4-for-4 at the plate with a double and two runs.
The Bruins secured second place with the win, but plenty remains on the line heading into Friday's 7 p.m. home finale against the Gophers. A win combined with a Clackamas loss to Centennial would give Barlow the league title. The Bruins also need to bump up a spot in the OSAA rankings to earn a home playoff game.
Gary the Pig brings Bruins a stroke of luck
The season was not off to a great start.
Barlow had one win over the first three weeks when it gathered for a team dinner on the final night of the team's spring break trip to Arizona.
Little did the Bruins know they would be signing the newest member of their team before leaving the restaurant.
"We're having a team night at Dave and Busters, and all the guys are off playing video games," Barlow assistant Brady Burdick said. "I noticed Lukas (Johnson) over at this claw machine filled with thousands of pigs. He was so proud to pull one out of there, I told him to bring him to the next day's game."
So sure enough, the two-inch plastic pink pig named Gary was attached to the antennae of the team van heading out to the next morning's game.
Barlow won 8-3.
The Bruins returned home to start league, and Gary the Pig found his way into Lukas's duffel bag and eventually into the visitor's dugout at Reynolds Middle School.
Barlow won again 8-1.
"We haven't really lost since we've had him," Lukas said.
That's not entirely true, but close.
The Bruins have gone 14-3 since Gary's acquisition, although one of those losses came on a night when the pig was forgotten back in the locker room.
"We lost the first game Gary got forgotten, so now he's a mainstay on the team with a front-row seat," Burdick said.
The team sits Gary in an elbow protector clipped to the fence near the dugout, always facing toward home plate.
"Some kids are in charge of bringing the ball bucket, others grab the medical kit, Lukas has to remember to bring Gary," Burdick said with a laugh.
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This story is slated for our Friday, May 10, print edition.