Sherwood will face Bend for the state crown on Saturday

by: DAN BROOD - MOB SCENE -- Sherwood players swarm senior Jacob Urbach after he scored the winning run in the 11th inning of Tuesday's state playoff semifinal game.LAKE OSWEGO — It was wild.

It was crazy. It was nerve-wracking. It was draining.

And, when it was finally over, the Sherwood High School baseball team was celebrating an emotional victory and a trip to the Class 5A state championship game.

The Bowmen earned their trip to the title tilt by scoring a 5-4, 11-inning win over Redmond in a back-and-forth nail-biter of a state semifinal playoff game played Tuesday at Lake Oswego High School.

“That was just crazy,” Sherwood senior third baseman Alex Barzee said following the Bowmen’s victory celebration. “I’m speechless right now.”

“This one was wild,” said Sherwood senior Joseph Balfour, who pitched the final five innings of the game for the Bowmen. “We had to dig deep. We gutted it out. We just always find a way to win.”

“That’s what we do,” said Sherwood senior Jacob Urbach, who scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning. “We’re Sherwood — we don’t die”

Redmond, the Intermountain Conference champion, finished its season with a final overall record of 21-7. Sherwood, the Northwest Oregon Conference champ, improved to 24-6 on the season with its third straight postseason come-from-behind win. The Bowmen also advance to meet Bend in the Class 5A state title game. Sherwood will clash with Bend for the title Saturday, starting at 1:30 p.m., at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.

“We’ll be ready,” Barzee said.

by: DAN BROOD - SEMIFINAL ACTION -- Sherwood senior Joseph Balfour looks to put a tag on diving Redmond senior Adam Rainville during Tuesday's state playoff semifinal game. Balfour pitched the final five innings in relief and he also had a key two-run double in the Bowmen's 5-4, 11-inning victory.After Tuesday’s semifinal thriller, it’s hard to doubt that the Bowmen would be ready for about anything.

There were three lead changes in the regulation seven innings of play. Sherwood looked to take the upper hand when Balfour, smacking a line-drive down the right-field line, doubled in both junior pinch-runner Keegan Lawrence and senior Anthony Sherwood to give the Bowmen a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.

But Redmond got a game-tying, two-out RBI single by senior J.D. Abbas in the top of the seventh frame to send the game to extra innings.

That’s when things got real intense.

The Panthers got a leadoff walk from senior Charles Payne and a bunt single by sophomore Ben Burroughs to start the eighth inning. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third base with no outs. But Balfour got a strikeout and a pair of flyouts to get out of the jam unscathed.

In the bottom of the eighth, Sherwood senior Cyrus Mooney and Balfour drew back-to-back walks with two outs, but they were left stranded.

Redmond had runners on first and second with one out in the top of the ninth inning, but a strikeout and a groundout ended that threat. The Panthers also got a leadoff walk by Burroughs to open the 10th inning, but he couldn’t advance.

Meanwhile, Sherwood got a one-out walk from Barzee in the ninth inning and, with two outs in the 10th, Mooney was hit with a pitch. But, the Bowmen also were unable to capitalize.

Balfour, in his fifth inning of relief duty, put Redmond down in order in the top of the 11th inning.

The Bowmen finally put an end to things in the bottom of the frame.

Urbach was hit by a pitch — he was drilled in the right thigh, to be exact — to open the inning.

“Yeah, it hurt,” he said. “But it turned out to be the sting of victory.”

by: DAN BROOD - SHERWOOD SLIDE -- Sherwood senior Anthony Sherwood slides home for the Bowmen's fourth run in Tuesday's semifinal contest. After Bowmen sophomore Zak Taylor lined out for the initial out of the inning, junior Jake Reimer and Barzee drew back-to-back walks on 3-2 pitches, loading the bases with one out.

The next Sherwood batter, senior Logan Ballarche´ was then hit by a pitch, forcing in Urbach with the game-winning run.

“It hit me square, but I turned to make sure (the umpire) called it,” Ballarche´ said. “Thin I saw hits hands go up, and I saw Barzee going crazy.”

“I didn’t know what to do at first,” Urbach said. “Then I put my arms up and ran to the plate. Once I hit the plate, I was swarmed into the back wall. That was the most amazing feeling. Everyone gave it all they had, and it paid off. I’ll sleep well tonight.”

“I’m drained, but it’s worth it,” Balfour said. “We’re a close group of guys, and we have multiple leaders on this team.”

“Our kids didn’t give up,” Sherwood coach Jon Strohmaier said. “We had things go against us, and our guys adjusted. We did a great job getting out of jams. Our kids just never give up.”

Sherwood, trailing 1-0 at the time, got its first two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Ballarche´ led off the inning with a single to right field. Junior Riley Moore had an infield single and Mooney drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Balfour was then hit by a pitch, bringing in Ballarche´ with the Bowmen’s first run. Mooney then scored on a sacrifice fly by Urbach to give Sherwood a 2-1 lead.

Redmond got a run in the fourth inning and another in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead, setting up the rest of the game’s dramatics.

Moore pitched the first six innings of the contest for Sherwood. He gave up three runs on nine hits while striking out three and walking one. Balfour, pitching the final five frames, allowed one unearned run on two hits while striking five and walking three. He now has two wins and one save while pitching in relief in the Bowmen’s three postseason games.

Sherwood, as a team, had five hits in the contest. Moore had three of those hits. Ballarche´ and Balfour added one hit apiece.

For Redmond, Abbas pitched the first 10 innings of the contest. He struck out 10 and walked seven.

In Saturday’s championship game, the Bowmen will be taking on a Bend team that is 20-8 on the season. The Lava Bears posted a 9-2 win over Sherwood’s NWOC rival, Wilsonville, in Tuesday’s other semifinal game.

“We know Bend will be a good opponent,” Balfour said. “We will need to play our game and do the little things. Hopefully, we’ll get it done.”

“We’ll need to have a good week of practice and come out and jump out on them,” Barzee said.

“We need to just keep playing like we’ve been playing,” Ballarche´ said.

“It’s the dream — to win state,” Urbach said.

Ticket prices for Saturday’s state championship game are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

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