Century ousts Sandy in baseball playoffs
A week removed from the school's first baseball league championship in 17 years, the Century Jaguars took another step towards heightened success with a 9-1 win over Sandy Monday night, May 20, at Ron Tonkin Field in Hillsboro.
The Jaguars scored a run in the third, another in the fifth, then opened things up with seven runs in the sixth to advance to the second round of the OSAA state playoffs.
"It went well," Century head coach Mason Wright said after the game. "We're trying to get a feel for what we can do offensively, and we want to be able to get in a groove with some of the things we like to do. Small ball was working well for us in some of those middle innings, and we were able to use some of our speed and athleticism to put some pressure on them early, then were able to bust it open in the end."
Century was led by Gene Quituga who tallied three hits, including a third-inning triple. Micky Thompson, Ian Lawson, Blake Baccay and Nathan Martinez all added two hits, while Thompson, Lawson and Baccay added a combined six RBIs.
Thompson also led the Jags on the mound, throwing 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out six before Jared Gordon took over in the sixth to finish up.
"Micky threw well," Wright said. "We're really just working on arm care with him. We wanted to monitor his pitch count because he's thrown a lot lately, and it worked out alright, and Jared threw well in relief."
Quituga's night didn't start out particularly well, as the senior was thrown out at the plate after tripping and falling 10 feet short of home en route to what appeared to be an easy inside-the-park home run. Wright had a good laugh about it afterwards, chuckling at what could only be described as a light, "it happens" moment.
"I felt bad for him," Wright chuckled. "He said he ran out of steam and then he tripped."
Despite the mishap, Century got on the board four batters later when Ian Lawson singled home Nathan Martinez for the game's first score, giving the home Jags a 1-0 lead.
Century went quietly in the fourth before loading the bases in the fifth with three straight singles by Quituga, Martinez and Thompson. Justyn Herzog then drew a walk to score Quituga to make it 2-0 before a pop-out and a double play limited the damage.
Then came the sixth, where the Jaguars used seven hits and a series of walks and sacrifice bunts to score seven runs and put the game away. Wright said the offensive explosion was just what his team needed to take a little pressure off heading into Wednesday's second round game, and complimented his team for staying patient despite a tendency to get anxious.
"It was nice for our bats to come alive there in the middle innings," Wright said. "The guys put a lot of expectations on themselves and when you have a slow start, kids can start pressing a bit. But our guys recognize that we have more in the tank and they stayed calm and consistent."
Now the team will prepare for Wednesday's second round game with No. 15-ranked Central Catholic, scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Ron Tonkin Field. But before that, Wright took a minute to talk about just what this season and his team's Pacific Conference title meant to the team and the school.
"It was huge," he said. "This team recognized that they had an opportunity to do something that hasn't been done in 17 years at this school. So for our guys to represent the program and the school in that way, meant a lot. Especially for the seniors."