Junior Karter Cook throws 6 shutout innings for Tualatin in the victory over Beaverton

by: DAN BROOD - BRINGING THE HEAT -- Tualatin junior Karter Cook rifles a pitch to the plate during the Wolves' win over Beaverton last week. Cook pitched six shutout innings in the victory.TUALATIN — It wasn’t exactly the way Karter Cook wanted to open the season.

Cook, a junior pitcher on the Tualatin High School baseball team, started his first game of the 2014 campaign on Friday. He proceeded to walk the first batter he faced on the season, Beaverton leadoff hitter Casey Cornwell, on four pitches.

Oh oh.

But, as it turned out, there was no need to worry. Things got better for Cook — much, much better.

Cook, a right-handed pitcher for the Timberwolves, overcame that leadoff walk and pitched six innings of shutout ball, helping lead Tualatin to an 8-3 win over the Beavers in a non-league game played last Thursday at Tualatin High School.

“I was a little nervous,” Cook said with a laugh after the game. “After the first couple of innings, I felt pretty good. It was pretty fun. With the good defense behind me, and with the way we’re swinging the bats, this is good team to play on.”

Beaverton moved to 1-1 on the season to that point with the loss. Tualatin, carrying high hopes into the season, improved to 2-0 at that point with the win.

“We have high expectations,” Cook said. “Everyone understands how important every game is.”

“It’s always good to get the first two out of the way,” Tualatin senior second baseman Joey Fishback said. “We know that anything can happen.”

“(Tualatin coach Adam) Strachan told us to play every game like it’s a playoff game,” Tualatin senior center fielder Cooper Brunner said.

Well, if last week’s game is any indication, then the Timberwolves sure appear to be postseason-ready.

Cook, in his six innings of work, allowed no runs on two hits while striking out seven and walking two.

“Karter threw well,” Strachan said. “Our goal was for him to get through four innings, but he needed just 70 pitches to get through six innings.”

“Karter was phenomenal,” Brunner said.

“I felt dialed in,” Cook said. “That’s one of the best feelings in the world.”

by: DAN BROOD - BAT ON THE BALL -- Tualatin junior Jacob Bennett rips a two-run single to left field in the first inning of last Thursday's game with Beaverton. Bennett had three hits for the Wolves in their 8-3 victory. “With our pitchers, we like to think that if we score four runs a game, we’re going to get a lot of wins,” Fishback said.

Tualatin got those needed four runs, and more, in last Thursday’s home opener.

After Cook got out of his first-inning mini jam, the Wolves struck quick for three runs in the bottom of the frame.

Junior Tanner Marsh got things started for Tualatin by drawing a one-out walk. Brunner followed with a line-drive triple to center field, driving in Marsh to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.

One out later, Tualatin junior Trevor Riese singled, with the ball hitting the base umpire. With the dead ball call, Brunner had to go back to third base, likely costing the Wolves a run.

But Tualatin junior Jacob Bennett rectified that in a big way.

After Riese stole second base, Bennett ripped a line-drive single down the left-field line, driving in both Brunner and Riese to up Tualatin’s early advantage to 3-0.

The Wolves, taking advantage of some Beaverton miscues, added another run in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Cam Frey set up the run by drawing a one-out walk. He moved all the way to third base on a Beaverton error on a pickoff attempt at first base.

Frey then scored when the Beavers couldn’t handle Fishback’s hard-hit grounder, giving the Timberwolves a 4-0 cushion.

Tualatin was still holding the 4-0 lead when it really broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring four more times in the frame.

Senior Brandon Shroyer, leading off, ignited the big inning when he reached first base on another Beaverton error. Riese followed with single to right field, with Shroyer moving all the way to third base on the hit.

One out later, and after Riese stole second base, Tualatin senior Jake Gellos struck out, but he reached base on a wild pitch on strike three. Shroyer scored on the play, giving the Wolves a 5-0 lead.

Senior Taylor Boos kept things going with a bunt single, which loaded the bases with one out. Riese then scored on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of sophomore Chase Anderson to make the score 6-0.

After Anderson stole second base, Fishback smacked a line-drive single to right field, driving in both Gellos and Anderson, capping off the Wolves’ scoring in their 8-3 victory.

“Our guys played well,” Strachan said. “They had a good approach at the plate.”

Tualatin, as a team, had eight base hits in the contest while also drawing five walks.

“We’re hitting the ball well. The barn has helped a lot,” Brunner said, referring to the Wolves’ indoor batting cage facility. “We’re seeing a lot more faces in there.”

“I wouldn’t want to face our team as a pitcher,” Fishback said.

Bennett led Tualatin hit attack in the win over Beaverton. He went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Riese went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Brunner, Boos and Fishback added one hit apiece.

Marsh walked three times and scored a run.

On Monday, Tualatin lost 3-0 to Pinnacle, Ariz., in an All-Star Division game of the Coach Bob Invitational, held in Pinnacle.

On Tuesday, Tualatin bounced back to get an 11-1 win over Palmer, Colo., in an invitational contest.

The Wolves were scheduled to face Rogers, Ariz., on Wednesday. Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press. Tualatin is slated to finish up play at the invitational today (Thursday).

The Wolves will next be in action Tuesday when they play at Clackamas in a non-league game starting at 5 p.m. at Clackamas High School.

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