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ONE INNING LIFTS WEST SALEM TO 3-0 SECOND-ROUND VICTORY/



TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Baxter Halligan pitches for the Lincoln Cardinals during Wednesday's state playoff game against West Salem at Ron Tonkin Field.HILLSBORO — Lincoln High pitcher Baxter Halligan put together six innings of near perfection against West Salem on Wednesday night.

The Cardinals’ bats, however, did not make the trip from downtown Portland to Ron Tonkin Field, and a three-run fourth inning by the Titans ended Lincoln’s season with a 3-0 loss in the second round Class 6A baseball playoffs.

The loss came in the same stadium and almost a year to the day from the end of Lincoln’s 2015 season. That campaign was cut short in a 2-1 second-round loss to Beaverton on May 27, also at the home of the Hillsboro Hops.

“It’s tough,” Lincoln coach C.J. Watson said. “It’s back to the drawing board as far as what we teach offensively. To get shut out in a postseason game is unfortunate. Losing in the second round is not something we had planned.”

West Salem will play Westview in Friday’s Oregon School Activities Association quarterfinals. The No. 2-seeded Wildcats beat Reynolds 10-1 on Wednesday.

No. 10 seed West Salem (21-8) broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning.

The Titans put runners on first and second with no outs on a single and a walk. Lincoln catcher Thomas Rudinsky then fielded a sacrifice bunt and tried to get the lead runner at third base. It was a bang-bang play, with the umpire ruling the runner safe.

Titans outfielder Simran Dhote then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score the game’s first run.

The No. 7 Cards again were again on the wrong end of close play, when Halligan nearly picked off the runner on first base.

After the play at third base, Watson came onto the field to argue the call, and he was visibly upset in the dugout after the call went against Lincoln at first base.

“I wasn’t real happy,” Watson said. “But I’m not going to sit here and complain about the umpires. They’re humans. They make mistakes. We’ve got to overcome those types of things.”

With two out in the fourth, West Salem outfielder Hunter Johnson grounded the ball to third, but the throw was short-hopped to first, allowing a second run to score.

With runners on the corners, Johnson got into a rundown between first and second. The Cardinals went after Johnson but were unable to tag him and end the inning before the third run crossed the plate.

“We had a chance to keep it at a 1-0 ballgame, which is tough,” Watson said. “One-nothing is a lot different than 3-0. Playing catch is a controllable. Executing our first-and-thirds is a controllable.”

Excluding the fourth inning, Halligan, a junior lefty who transferred to Lincoln from Summit, was brilliant on the mound. He faced the minimum in the six other innings, retiring the side in the first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh. In the third inning, he erased a leadoff single by rolling a double play.

Halligan went the distance, allowing one earned run on two hits and one walk, with three strikeouts.

“I can’t say enough about my defense,” Halligan said. “My defense did an amazing job today. I was just letting them put the ball in play and letting my defense make plays behind me.”

West Salem senior right-hander Jonathan Terleski handcuffed Lincoln’s offense, though. He allowed three hits and one walk and struck out four in the complete-game shutout.

Rudinsky, Bennett Sacker and Gabe Skoro had the only hits for the Cards, all singles. Rudinsky also drew a walk.

“He had a good pace,” Rudinsky said, of Terleski. “He was throwing a lot of strikes. The ball just didn’t bounce our way.”

Lincoln (23-6) will graduate six seniors. Watson said the future looks bright for the Cards.

“We’ll go back to work,” he said. “We appreciate what the seniors have done for this program the last couple of years. We return a lot of guys.

“It will be a different offseason with new expectations. We’ll get back to work. We trust what we do here.”

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