The first four batters in Putnam's lineup had six hits with four RBIs and scored five runs as the Kingsmen advanced to Friday's OSAA quarterfinals

REVIEW/NEWS PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Putnam's Jake Storment watches his third-inning fly to left that scored Sam Booth during Wednesday's 6-1 home win over Corvallis.Corvallis had no problem keeping the bottom half of the Putnam batting order off of the base paths Wednesday.

It was the top of the Kingmen's batting order that gave Corvallis a headache.

Sam Booth, Zack Creswick, Jake Storment and Kody Hall -- the first four batters in the Putnam lineup, respectively -- went a combined 6-for-9 with a double, four RBIs and five runs scored, leading the Kingsmen to a 6-1 home win over the Spartans in Wednesday's opening round of the OSAA Class 5A baseball playoffs.

Storment and Hall also did all of the pitching from Putnam, combining on a three-hitter with five walks and seven strikeouts to help send the Kingsmen into Friday's quarterfinal against Crater, a 21-1 winner over Hillsboro Wednesday.

"This is where we were last year, so this is where we wanted to get to and move beyond this season," Putnam coach Chad McGowan said. "If we stay focused for seven inning, we can hand and play and beat anybody.

"There are times when we get up and all of a sudden we'll lapse a little bit, but it's something we've been working on and we're getting better. I don't know how many wins we've run off here in the end, but it's been a good stretch and we want to keep playing until we win our last game."

The Kingsmen, in the quarterfinals for the third season in a row, have won nine straight and 13 of 15 heading into Friday's showdown with the Comets of Central Point.

"It's great," said Booth, who went 2-for-3 and scored twice in Wednesday's playoff opener. "We're hoping we can bust through this time and get down to the final four.

"We've just got to come ready to compete right from the first pitch, ready to hit, ready to play defense, and ready to do all the small things right."

Against Corvallis, the Kingsmen took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Storment reached on a fielder's choice and came around the score on Hall's two-single to right.

Putnam added a run in the second when Colby Grace singled -- the only hit from someone other than the first four batters -- and Drew Urben reached safely on an error. With runners at first and third with two outs, Urben got picked off first base for the final out of the inning, but not before Grace scored to make it 2-0.

In the third, the Kingsmen added two runs on three hits, Hall delivering the key blow with a double that scored Storment from first base and extended the lead to 4-0.

Storment took a two-hit shutout into the fifth inning when he walked three of the first four batters he faced and Corvallis scored a run when Keely Kingsmill scored on a passed ball.

Hall relieved Storment and got the final out of the fifth with a strikeout.

Putnam then put the game out of reach in the home half of the fifth when Booth and Creswick led off the inning with singles. Storment then walked, Hall hit a sacrifice fly that scored Booth, Joey Geertsen got hit by a pitch, and Grace grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Creswick, pushing the lead to 6-1.

"Our whole team was focused today," Booth said. "We swung the bats well in key situations, expecially with runners in scoring position."

Next stop: Central Point on Friday.

"We're ready to go out there and do everything we can to move on further," said Storment, who in 4 2-3 innings allowed one run on two hits with five walks and five strikeouts. "We're playing really hard and we have the potential to play with anybody if we just stick to doing what we're doing."

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