Dawgs tipped in extra-inning thriller
LAKE OSWEGO — Things didn't look promising for the Tualatin team.
Nope. Not at all.
Going into the fifth inning of their Oregon Independent Baseball Association tournament quarterfinal game, the Dawgs found themselves facing a 5-0 deficit in their game with a powerful West Linn squad.
But that just seemed to fire up Tualatin. The Dawgs, in fact, care roaring back in impressive fashion.
But that wasn't quite enough to keep their season going.
Tualatin, after rallying to take a 6-5 lead, fell 7-6, innings, in a thrilling OIBA tourney game played Friday at Lake Oswego High School.
"It was really good, all the way to the end," said Jett Searle, a Tualatin High School senior-to-be, who hit a pair of doubles in the contest. "We battled back and made it a great game."
"It was great," said Lucas Diggins, a Tualatin High junior-to-be, who had a hit and drove in a run. "We kind of struggled at first, but we battled back."
With the loss, the Dawgs finished the summer season with a final overall record of 11-9.
"It was good," Searle said. "I really think that we bonded and grew together as a team. Going forward, we should be really good."
"We definitely improved," Diggins said. "It was totally fun."
West Linn, in Friday's game, got an RBI single by Matthew Kurtin on its way to scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Lions a quick 4-0 lead.
West Linn then added a solo home run by Zach Bell in the bottom of the third inning, upping the Lions' lead to 5-0.
Tualatin tried to answer, getting a double by Searle in the second inning and a single by Cameron Atkinson in the fourth. But, going into the fifth inning, the team was still facing a 5-0 deficit.
But that didn't deter the Dawgs.
"We knew we just had to battle back," Searle said. "We just wanted to give it our all out there."
"We were thinking 'one base as a time,'" Diggins said. "Don't go for the big plays, just trying to get on base and make things happen."
Searle, leading off the top of the fifth inning, doubled off the fence down the left field line, igniting what turned out to be a big inning for the Dawgs.
"My first at-bat, I had a double, and I was just thinking 'first-pitch fastball,'" Searle said. "(Bell, West Linn's starting pitcher) threw it, and I just turned on it. I think that helped spark the guys, and it led to a good inning."
Luke Rogers followed the double with a single to left field, driving in Searle, making the score 5-1. Tommy Harvey kept things going with a single to right field. Joey Myers then doubled to right field, driving in Rogers. Harvey then scored on a groundout by Diggins, cutting the West Linn lead to 5-3.
The Dawgs didn't stop there.
Campbell Clarke followed with an RBI double to right field, plating Myers. Atkinson, Springer and Gavin Moore then had consecutive singles, with Clarke and Atkinson coming in to score, capping off the big inning and giving Tualatin a 6-5 lead.
"I feel like hitting was contagious for us," Diggins said.
Tualatin took the 6-5 lead to the bottom of the seventh inning, and was one out away from winning after Rogers, the Dawgs' catcher, tagged out Caden Paker at the plate, as he tried to score on a double by Cormac Duffy. But Kurtin came through in the clutch for the Lions, singling in Duffy to tie the game at 6-6, and send the contest to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Tualatin got a two-out single by Clarke in the top of the ninth, but he was left stranded on base. In the bottom of the ninth, West Linn's Adam Simshauser drew a leadoff walk, and he ended up scoring on a one-out double by Bell, giving the Lions a 7-6 victory.
"This shows that we can play with anyone," Searle said. "It doesn't matter if we're down, we're going to come back and compete."
"This shows that we have a lot of talent, and I think we'll prove it next year, too," Diggins said. "We're going to keep working, and I think we can do something special."
Tualatin, as a team, had 12 hits in the contest. Searle went 2 for 3 at the plate with a pair of doubles and a run scored. Clarke went 2 for 5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Atkinson went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI.
Springer, Moore, Rogers, Myers, Diggins and Harvey had one hit apiece.
For West Linn, Duffy went 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.