It wasn't supposed to end like this for the Lake Oswego baseball team.
The 14th-ranked Lakers, playing at No. 3 Clackamas in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Wednesday, May 22, couldn't get their bats going against Cavalier pitcher Nick Vaughn and ended up on the wrong side of a 2-0 decision at Clackamas High School.
"It was a tough way to go out, especially for the 10 seniors," said Lake Oswego senior center fielder and leadoff hitter Matt Sebolsky. "We've been together since third grade. I wouldn't trade this team for the world. I was so honored to be a part of this team. It was a great group of guys, but it sucks that it ended the way it did."
"It was a tough game, but it was a great season overall," said Lake Oswego senior third baseman Jackson Laurent. "We were really expecting to get past this second one, but hats off to them, that kid pitched a great game."
The loss ended Lake Oswego's year with a 15-14 overall record — including wins in 11 of their final 15 games — following a third-place finish in the Three Rivers League. Mt. Hood Conference champion Clackamas, meanwhile, went on to beat Roseburg 6-2 in its quarterfinal and fall 1-0 to Central Catholic in its semifinal; the Cavs finished their season with a 23-8 overall record.
In their second-round game, Clackamas' Vaughn was the obvious difference-maker. For the game, the senior hurler shut down the Lakers for all seven innings, allowing no runs on no hits and one walk while striking out five.
"We just didn't get it going with the bats," said Lake Oswego senior catcher Gabe DeVille. "It's hard to get momentum when you don't get any baserunners, so ultimately, that's what killed us in the end. Hats off to him. He threw a hell of a game."
"He wasn't a very powerful pitcher, but he hit his spots, knew how to throw well and mixed up his timing and his looks," Laurent said. "He had a lot of movement on his changeup and his changeup looked exactly like his fastball. He threw a really good game."
The Lakers got their lone baserunner aboard when sophomore Malcolm Williams walked with one out in the top of the sixth inning, but Vaughn bore down to get the next two batters in order to strand Williams at first.
For the Lakers, Williams got the start and nearly matched Vaughn's success, allowing just two unearned runs on four hits and no walks while striking out two.
"That was one of the best games he pitched," Sebolsky said. "He struggled a bit at the start of the year finding his way, but he battled back. I'm so proud of him. Malcolm's got a bright career in baseball and I can't wait to see what he does."
"We didn't get much momentum going on our side, but defensively, we played really solid and Malcolm threw an awesome game," Laurent said.
The Cavaliers scored both their runs in the bottom of the third inning, using a single from Jack Dorn, a sacrifice bunt, two Lake Oswego errors and a sacrifice fly from Vaughn to score their two runs.
Williams only allowed one hit and one baserunner the rest of the way, but on this day, with the Lakers' bats silenced by Vaughn, it just wasn't enough.
"At the end of the day, I'm proud of the boys because we competed the whole way through," DeVille said. "We didn't hang our heads and we kept fighting."
The loss marked the final Lake Oswego game for seniors Sebolsky, Laurent, DeVille, Alex Giroux, Matt Hofmann, Brandon Day, Kellen Rice, Luke Kloster Jack O'Brien and Mike Mercep.
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