Longhorns come close in OIBA loss to West Linn

by: DAN BROOD - CRAFTY LEFTY -- Tigard's David Howell fires a pitch to the plate during the Longhorns' OIBA tournament game at West Linn on Tuesday. Howell allowed just two earned runs in six innings of work. WEST LINN — One key hit.

One clutch defensive play.

That might have been all the Tigard Longhorns needed.

But, unfortunately for the Longhorns, they didn’t get it.

Tigard, despite playing well throughout, was edged 3-1 by West Linn in a first-round game of the OIBA Tournament, played Tuesday at West Linn High School.

“It was close,” Tigard pitcher David Howell said after the contest. “There were a couple of close plays that didn’t go our way.”

“We just didn’t execute, and since we’re not an offensive juggernaut, we need to execute,” Tigard coach Tom Campbell said. “We swung the bats OK, but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.”

With the win, West Linn advanced to face Sherwood in Wednesday’s winners’ bracket quarterfinals.

Tigard was scheduled to face Lakeridge Wednesday in a losers’ bracket quarterfinal game of the 16-team double-elimination tournament. However, that game was postponed due to rain.

“We’re just going to keep working on our hitting,” Howell said.

While the Longhorns’ offensive attack may mean some fine tuning, the team got a strong pitching performance from Howell on Tuesday.

by: DAN BROOD - YOU'RE OUT -- Tigard third baseman Jarod Gogal (right) tags out West Linn's Colton Cosner during Tuesday’s OIBA tournament game. West Linn got a 3-1 victory. The left-hander, a Tigard High School junior-to-be, seemed to keep the Lions off balance throughout the contest.

In six innings of work, he gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out five and walking none.

“I felt great. I’m not going to lie,” Howell said, adding that his change-up and curveball were effective throughout the contest. “I’ve been working on bringing out the lion in myself, although, that’s not good for today.”

“David pitched a heck of a game,” Campbell said. “He’s had a real good summer.”

Tigard, in Tuesday’s game, took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first inning. Brett Thomas, a Tigard sophomore-to-be, reached base on a West Linn error to lead off the game. He advanced on a single by Cole Cameron and then scored when West Linn committed another error, this one following a ball hit by Tigard’s J.T. Greenough.

The Longhorns kept threatening after that. In the second inning, they got a one-out single by Connor Wojahn. Then, in the top of the third, they got a leadoff single by Thomas, but they were both left stranded.

West Linn got a run in the bottom of the third inning, coming on a two-out double by Tim Tawa, to tie the game at 1-1.

The Lions then took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on a two-out RBI infield single by Colton Cosner, who helped lead Horizon Christian to the semifinal round of the Class 3A state baseball playoffs this past spring.

West Linn scored again in the fifth inning to push its lead to 3-1.

Tigard kept trying to fight back. The Longhorns got singles from both Brady McGetrick and Tyler Walker in the top of the sixth inning. But West Linn got a double play to help escape that jam unscathed.

Then, in the top of the seventh, Tigard’s Henry Ammann, leading off the inning, was hit by a pitch. Sam Nihill drew a one-out walk, putting the potential tying run on base. But another West Linn double play ended the game, giving the home team a 3-1 win.

“We just need to come back and do better,” Howell said.

Tigard, as a team, had five hits in the contest, singles by Coleman, Wojahn, Thomas, McGetrick and Walker.

Tigard will be back in tournament action today (Thursday) when it play Lakeridge in a losers’ bracket first-round game set to start at 9 a.m. at Lake Oswego High School.

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