Dawgs edged out by Montana squad
CLACKAMAS — They aren't exactly physically imposing.
They're pretty young, and they haven't worked together as a team that long.
Meanwhile, in the other dugout, there was an older, physically bigger squad. And that team arrived at Clackamas High School in its very own, fancy-painted travel bus.
But none of that seemed to bother the Tualatin Dawgs Oregon Independent Baseball Association squad.
In fact, the Dawgs nearly came away with an upset victory.
Tualatin, after falling behind 6-1, rallied back strong before falling 6-4 to the Bozeman Bucks, an American Legion team out of Bozeman, Mont., in a Clackamas Diamond Classic tournament game, played Friday at Clackamas High School.
"It was good," Luke Rogers, a Tualatin High School junior-to-be, said after the game. "We made a couple of mistakes, but we played a good game."
"We're starting to play more and more like a team," added Cameron Atkinson, a Tualatin senior-to-be. "We've been focusing on the mental stuff, and we're getting better."
With the setback, Tualatin moved to 7-4 on the summer season to that point.
"We're making good strides," Rogers said.
"We're coming together as a team," Atkinson said. "That's the biggest thing."
Bozeman, in Friday's tourney game, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI triple by Ben Hubley. The team from Montana then added three more runs in the bottom of the third inning, with the big hit of the frame being a two-run double by Ryan Evenson.
Meanwhile, the Dawgs were having trouble getting their offense going against Bozeman starting pitcher Adam Hubley.
But Tualatin was able to break through in the top of the fifth inning. Rogers got things going with a one-out single to right field. Atkinson followed with a double to center field, driving in Rogers to cut the Bucks' lead to 4-1.
But Bozeman answered back in the bottom of the frame, getting a two-run double by Michael Freund, pushing the margin to 6-1.
The Dawgs still faced the five-run deficit going into the top of the seventh inning, but that's when they started rallying in a big way.
Joey Myers, leading off the frame, was hit by a pitch. Jacob Kreitzer and Lucas Diggins then drew back-to-back walks, loading the bases with no outs. Rogers then hit a shot deep to left field, with the ball hitting high off the fence.
"I thought it might be a home run," Rogers said with a smile.
Instead, he had to settle for a two-run double, which made the score 6-3. One out later, Cameron Springer singled to center field, driving in Diggins to cut the lead to 6-4, while also putting the potential tying run on base, and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.
But Freund, pitching in relief, coaxed a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam, and wrap up the Bucks' 6-4 victory.
"That was good competition, and we needed that," Atkinson said. "To rally like that showed growth."
Tualatin, as a team, had six hits in the contest. Rogers went 2 for 3 at the plate, with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Springer went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Atkinson went 1 for 4 with an RBI. Kreitzer had the other hit for the Dawgs. Myers, Reily Maclean and Diggins each scored a run.
The Dawgs opened the tournament last Thursday with a 2-1 win over Spanish Springs. Atkinson picked up the pitching win, giving up one run on six hits, while striking out four and walking one in seven innings of work. Myers went 2 for 2 at the plate with a run scored.
On Saturday, Tualatin was edged 4-2 by Clackamas in a tourney game. Gavin Moore and Tyler Anderson each had a hit and scored a run for the Dawgs in that contest.
Tualatin finished tourney play on Sunday with a 5-4 win over Canby. Atkinson and Myers each had a pair of hits. Anderson drove in two runs and Jett Searle scored twice.
Searle and Moore combined to pitch the Dawgs to the victory.
Tualatin will be back in action Thursday, when it faces Grant in a game starting at 6 p.m. at Marshall High School. The Dawgs will then compete at the Hillsboro Tournament, which will be held Friday through Sunday at Hare Field.