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The Pacers capture the season series with a hard-fought Three Rivers League win on Friday.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lakeridge senior catcher Mason Utech (center) celebrates with teammates Eric Hoffberg and Jacob Barton after making a key play at home during their team's 4-2 win over Lake Oswego at Lake Oswego High School on Friday, April 15.You just knew this one was going to be a classic.

The sixth-ranked Lakeridge baseball team took its 2022 series opener against crosstown rival Lake Oswego, saw the Lakers return the favor in game two and set the table for game three on Friday, April 15, at Lake Oswego High School.

The two teams didn't disappoint, with the Pacers pulling out a hard-fought 4-2 decision to secure the season series as well as bragging rights in the annual Battle of the Lake.

"I think today, the key coming in was focus," said Lakeridge senior pitcher Gus Rogers, who picked up the win after throwing six innings and allowing two runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit batters while striking out seven. "Knowing that everything was on the line this game was what brought us the victory. That and just grit, man. That's what gets you far."

"I'm best friends with all of them. I've played with them all my life so I have nothing against them — I love them, but the (Battle of the Lake) — it puts a chip on your shoulder," said junior shortstop Dawson Santana, who went 3 for 4 at the plate. "We knew they were going to come out playing hard, just like they did the last two days."

With the win, the team's fourth in its past five games, Lakeridge improved to 4-2 in Three Rivers League play and 9-4 overall. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the seventh time in its last eight games and fell to 1-5 in TRL play and 3-9 overall.

That said, the Lakers — who lost the series opener just 2-1 and stranded two runners in the bottom of the seventh on Friday — knew just how close they'd been to victory.

"We've competed against some of the best teams in the state this year and we've held our own against every single one of them," said Lake Oswego senior center fielder Blaise Heher, who went 2 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs. "Honestly, a couple calls don't go our way this series, and we lost two games that maybe we shouldn't have."

"They've been close games, super competitive and fun," said senior catcher Sam Trojan, who went 2 for 3 at the plate. "I just think we've got to get our confidence levels up, and I think they're going up right now."

Lake Oswego grabbed the lead early on Friday, getting one run in the bottom of the first when senior Kellen Krebs was hit by a pitch, took second on junior Grant Maxwell's bunt and scored when Heher doubled to left field.

But the Pacers answered with single runs in the top of the second, third and fourth innings to take a 3-1 lead they wouldn't relinquish. In the second, senior Mason Utech led off with a single to center, moved up on senior Gino Streano's walk and senior Beau Spiekerman's infield hit, and senior pinch runner Jack Ulwelling scored on Rogers' opposite-field single to left.

In the third, senior Zach Johnson reached base on an error, stole second and scored on senior Alou Dechard's bloop single to right field. And in the fourth, Rogers led off with a triple to deep right field, and senior pinch runner Jacob Barton scored when senior Zander Groman hit a hard single down the third base line.

Lake Oswego senior starter Carson Bush benefited from two double plays in his 4 1/3 innings, the first of those defusing a bases-loaded one-out situation in the second, and the second stopping a two-on, one-out situation in the fourth.

The Lakers, after going scoreless for three straight at-bats — Rogers stranded three in the second and one in the fourth — broke through to score again in the bottom of the fifth to cut the Pacer lead to 3-2.

There, with two outs, LO senior Andrew Wong hit a hard double to right field, then scored on Heher's single to left.

But Lakeridge answered with its final run in the top of the sixth, with Groman reaching base on a fielder's choice, moving up on hits by Santana and Johnson, then scoring when junior Paul Wilson singled to center field.

From there, a tiring Rogers battled through a tough sixth inning, allowing three hits but escaping unscathed when Wilson threw out Laker junior pinch runner Dylan Coe at home to end the threat.

Lake Oswego drew back-to-back walks off Ulwelling — he took over from Rogers in the final inning — with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Lakers went down 1-2-3 against Pacer freshman reliever Calvin Gregory.

"The team's playing good," Santana said. "When we bring the bats and we do our jobs — everybody does their job — we're rolling. We've got the best arms out there — the pitchers are key — and when we're hitting like this, we are unstoppable."

"We've got a great part of our schedule coming up to dominate some teams," Heher said. "We can beat anyone in the state, and I'm excited to play the rest of this year."

For the game, Dechard went 2 for 4 at the plate, and Rogers was 2 for 3 with one RBI.

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