Lions, Indians fight to the finish
The final day of the high school baseball season is upon the teams from St. Helens and Scappoose.
Neither team has a shot at the Oregon School Activities Association Class 5A playoffs going into their scheduled Friday games — St. Helens at Hillsboro (Rutschman Stadium/Hare Field), and Scappoose at Wilsonville. Both games are slated to start at 5 p.m.
But both the Lions and Indians will be looking to finish on a high note — and to perhaps top the other in the final Northwest Oregon Conference standings.
St. Helens was 5-12 in the NWOC after losses to Hillsboro on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scappoose was 5-11 with a Thursday game set at home against Wilsonville and then the Friday finale on the road against the Wildcats.
The top four finishers in the NWOC will advance to the state playoffs, along with one other team somewhere in the state from the 5A ranks (based on the OSAA rankings). Wilsonville, La Salle Prep, Putnam and Hillsboro will be the first four in the NWOC; the league title is up for grabs going into Friday, with La Salle Prep and Wilsonville battling for that.
• St. Helens kicked off its final league series of the season on Tuesday, falling 2-0 to Hillsboro at Ron Tonkin Field, home of the Single-A Hillsboro Hops.
Josh O'Neal of the Spartans won a pitching duel with sophomore Kaleb Edwards. O'Neal gave up two hits and one walk, with six strikeouts. Edwards allowed 10 hits and two runs, with one walk and three strikeouts.
Edwards had one of the Lions' hits, a double.
Hillsboro scored both its runs in the fifth inning, getting three hits and a walk all with two out.
The Wednesday St. Helens-Hillsboro game featured extra innings, with the Spartans scoring twice in the top of the ninth to prevail 3-1. Hillsboro led in hits 9-4.
Lions starter Jacob Klein, a senior, worked eight innings and scattered six hits and three walks while fanning eight. The only run against him was unearned.
For St. Helens, sophomore Jacobi Allen singled with one out in the fourth and scored on junior Jackson Hald's one-out single to tie the game at 1-1.
The Lions were coming off an 0-3 result in their series with La Salle Prep, which held them to five total runs.
• Scappoose opened a three-game series with Wilsonville with a 4-3 road loss on Tuesday.
Starting Indians pitcher Breeler Mann gave up four runs on eight hits over six innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts for the senior.
"He was as sharp as he's been all season," Scappoose coach Cameron Webb said.
Senior Mike Reed's double in the third began a two-run rally for a 2-1 Indians lead. Junior Jake Bernhard laid down a key bunt, and Reed hustled home on a passed ball, making it safely home thanks to an acrobatic slide on a close play. Bernhard then scored on an error on junior Ben Anicker's ground ball up the middle.
Wilsonville scored three runs in the bottom of the third on two hits and two errors before Mann held them scoreless the rest of the day.
Scappoose scored another run in the fifth to get within 4-3, andthe Indians had the tying run on third with two out in the seventh.
Indians junior Logan Travis was on base three times (double and two hit-by-pitches).
On Thursday, May 9, Scappoose downed host Milwaukie 3-2 to take that series, 2-1.
All three games were decided by one run — Milwaukie won the opener 9-8 at home on May 7, but Scappoose came back to win 17-16 at home on May 8.
"Definitely a hard-fought series," Webb said.
The Indians never trailed in the May 9 game, scoring twice in the fourth inning and once in the fifth to go up 3-0. Milwaukie got single runs in the sixth and seventh, but Indians sophomore Tyler Souvenir recorded the final two outs with a runner in scoring position.
The pitching win went to freshman right-hander Michael Bates, who worked 6.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks.
"Michael is a hardworking kid," Webb said. "He excelled by locating his fastball well all game and trusting his defense. He pitched to contact all game and was very efficient."
Bates averaged fewer than 12 pitches per inning.
"Our fielders made all the plays behind him," Webb said. "The few times when he did get runners on, he showed maturity beyond his years and had the composure to continue trusting his stuff and work his way out of jams."
Scappoose took the lead in Game 3 with Milwaukie when senior Jordan Buchanan walked and later scored on an error. Another error in the fourth inning brought home senior Quincy Cleveland.
In the fifth, senior Liam McMullen singled with two out and scored on a hit by senior Terrence Lewis.
In the wild, 17-16 victory, Travis homered and drove in five runs. Reed, Bernhard, Buchanan, Lewis and Cleveland all had multi-hit games as well. McMullen started and earned the win.
Webb, the Indians' first-year coach was hoping for a good finish from his team, even with the playoffs out of reach.
"I really hope our kids push themselves for their own sake and compete against themselves out of their own motivation," he said. "We shouldn't need anything to play for, so to speak. I really hope we can stay just as focused as we would've been at the start of the season or any other time and play hard."
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