Check off Monday, May 20, as another important date in the progression of the Lakeridge baseball team.
The seventh-ranked Pacers, after finishing fourth in the Three Rivers League regular season and earning their first state playoff berth in three years, made that playoff a success. Lakeridge, in head coach D.J. Whittemore's first year, beat No. 26 Grants Pass 10-5 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Lakeridge High School.
With the win, Lakeridge's eighth straight, the Pacers improved to 19-9 overall and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Lakeridge will host 10th-ranked TRL foe Tigard at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in that contest; the Tigers (18-10 overall) earned their berth by beating South Medford 7-6 on Monday.
In the win over Grants Pass, Lakeridge saw the Cavemen push ahead 3-2 in the top of the second inning, but responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the second, four more in the fourth and one in the fifth to pull away.
The Pacers were led by Colin Hardy's 2 for 3 day at the plate with one run scored and two RBIs, while Cam Clayton went 2 for 3, scored twice and knocked in one, and John Taylor and Brian Hamlin added one hit and two RBIs each.
Taylor got the start — and the win — for the Pacers, throwing five innings and allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two. He then gave way to relievers Will Owen and Clayton for the final two frames.
For Grants Pass, Colby Dinkle went 3 for 4 and scored three times, while Matt Knight went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Starter Cade King got knocked out after 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on three hits and three walks before giving way to Knight.
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