Lakeridge baseball starts fast, crushes Tigard 26-0
The Lakeridge baseball team made a big splash in 2019, edging into the Class 6A state playoffs, then battling all the way to the 6A quarterfinals.
The Pacers were ready for even more in 2020 before their spring season — along with every other high school team in Oregon — was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After waiting so long — Lakeridge saw a pause of 690 days (1 year, 10 months and 20 days) before its return to competition — the Pacers decided to make the most of it.
They started with a 7-0 shutout at Sherwood on April 12, then tacked on a devastating 26-0 victory over Tigard in 4 1/2 innings at Lakeridge High School on Wednesday, April 14. In the process, the Pacers improved to 1-0 in the Three Rivers League and 2-0 overall.
"It feels amazing to get back out on the field again," said Lakeridge senior shortstop Cam Clayton, a University of Washington commit who went 1 for 3 at the plate with four RBIs and four runs scored. "I can't wait to keep the season rolling. This team is awesome. I mean, we've got a great team."
"We're just trying to work as a team together and do the best we can with the season that we have," added sophomore lefthanded pitcher Paul Wilson, who threw four innings against the Tigers, allowing no hits and no runs while striking out nine and walking four.
Tigard, meanwhile, lost for the first time (the Tigers beat Liberty 11-7 in their opener) and fell to 0-1 in the TRL and 1-1 overall.
The Pacers pushed ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning, then broke the game open with an epic second at-bat. In the bottom of the second, Lakeridge sent 18 batters to the plate, banged out four hits, took advantage of nine walks and two Tigard errors to pour across 12 runs and take total control at 14-0.
After Tigard senior starter Caleb Debban walked three of the first four batters to force home one run, Clayton stepped up to rip a bases-clearing triple to the base of the right-center field fence and kick the Pacers' inning into high gear.
Other highlights from the inning were senior George Eisenhardt's two-run double to left-center, a three-run error on a Clayton fly to center and Wilson's two singles and one RBI.
"We've got an unbelievable team, but we can't come out complacent," Clayton said. "We have to come out like every single team we're playing is for the World Series."
Already way ahead, the Pacers then tacked on two more runs in the third and 10 more in the fourth. In the Lakeridge fourth, the Pacers got two-run doubles by seniors Mac Elske and Michael Brannon, and run-scoring singles from senior Ty Huckuntod, junior Mason Utech, Wilson and junior Zach Johnson.
With Wilson in total control on the mound, the Pacers were home free. For the game, Wilson — a tall lefthander — threw four innings, allowing no runs on no hits and four walks while striking out nine. For his long-awaited first start — Wilson lost his freshman season to the COVID-19 pandemic — it was worth the wait.
"I felt good. I was nervous at the start, but once I got the hang of it, everything just felt normal," Wilson said.
Junior Gus Rogers came on to pitch the fifth for Lakeridge, allowing Tigard's lone hit (to Tiger junior Charlie Peters) and striking out two.
For the game, Wilson went 3 for 5 at the plate with two RBIs and one run scored, Johnson and Huckuntod both went 2 for 3, and sophomore Dawson Santana went 1 for 2 with three RBIs and four runs.
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