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Reynolds High School baseball lose to Lakeridge juggernaut, eliminated from postseason

PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS  - Raiders lose to the Lakeridge Pacers in the first round of the postseason 11-0. The Reynolds High School boy's baseball team's successful season comes to an unfortunate end as they fall to the No. 1-ranked Lakeridge squad 11-0 in the first round of Oregon State Championships on Monday, May 23.

Despite coming up against a juggernaut in Lakeridge, the scrappy Reynolds team was able to stay in the game for the first four innings only being down a manageable three runs.

Steve Kovac was on the hill for Reynolds and was in charge of limiting the usually high scoring Lakeridge team to only four runs entering the fifth. PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS  - Senior Steve Kovac took the mound for Reynolds against the No. 1-ranked Lakeridge High School.

The admirable effort by the Raider's defense was made insignificant as the Lakeridge's ace pitcher Paul Wilson silenced Reynolds' bats through the entire game. Wilson struck out 14 batters, gave up zero hits and allowed one walk.

The Pacers would be able to break through Kovac and Raider's defense in the bottom of the fifth, bringing in eight runs and ending the game on top 11-0. The scoring started off with senior Mason Utech taking a pitch from Kovac over the centerfield wall. Wilson, Utech and Alou Dechard each would get a homerun off Reynolds pitchers. Wilson would lead the Pacers in hits with two and RBIs with three.

The Raider's lone offensive stat was a lead-off walk in the third inning from senior Jordan Ankele.

Despite the early playoff exit, the Raider's team can still hold their heads up high knowing they were the first Reynolds team to make it to the postseason since 2017 and the first squad to have a winning season since the 2015-16 season.

"You know I am just proud of these guys," said Reynolds head coach Kyle Swoboda. "They got us back in the playoffs. I can't say enough about them and the effort they put into this program."

For many of the Reynolds' players, the ability to even participate in a high school playoff game was everything. For some of the players, like pitcher/infielder Alex Hendrickson, the experience was heightened by the fact that they were able to make it to this point with friends they have been playing ball with since little league.

"Coming to the playoffs meant everything to me," Hendrickson said. "We started off (the season) a little rough, but we battled back and got ourselves a spot in the playoffs."

For Kovac, his first and final high school postseason appearance was bittersweet moment.

"It was nice to have a playoff game in high school. But I feel like this is a good team and I don't think we are first round exits," said Kovac. "I honestly think we could have done even better in the season, but I am happy to make it to the postseason."

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