Tualatin off to a scorching start to the summer
LAKE OSWEGO — The summer weather is starting to heat up.
But the Tualatin OIBA baseball team has already been playing at a fever pitch.
The Wolves continued their scorching start to the summer season by scoring a 3-0 win over La Salle in a first-round game at the Lake Oswego tournament, played Thursday at Lake Oswego High School.
"It was awesome," said Luke Rogers, a Tualatin High School senior-to-be, who was the winning pitcher. "Obviously, it was an early game (10 a.m. start), but we came out with a lot of intensity. I felt good from the beginning, and it was great."
"It was an early game, but we worked ourselves into it in the later innings, so it was good," said Tualatin senior-to-be Campbell Clarke, who scored a pair of runs in the victory.
With the win, the Wolves improved to 6-1 on the summer season to that point.
"It's been the good team chemistry, and the relaxation of summer ball," Clarke said of the strong start to the summer. "It's not so stressful. So we're having fun and playing some good ball. The summer has been pretty good for us. We've only had one loss. It's been great."
"We're looking to win a lot of games, and to progress a lot to get ready for next year," Rogers said. "We've had a lot of leaders filling a lot of roles."
Rogers and La Salle's Dave Jensen locked up in a pitchers' duel early in Thursday's game, with neither team being able to score in the first three innings of the contest.
La Salle, however, threatened in the fourth. Patrick Raschio singled to left to lead off the frame. Raschio moved to second on a passed ball and then advanced to third on a one-out single by Eli Brunelle. La Salle then tried a double steal, but Rogers threw out Raschio at home plate, with Blake Jackson making the tag.
"A shoutout to my defense, helping me out of a few jams," Rogers said. "We got a good tag by Blake (Jackson) to get me out of that two-out jam."
The Wolves then broke through with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Clarke got things started with a one-out single to right-center field. Sean Christensen followed with an infield single, with Clarke moving to second on the hit. Max Krahnke then singled to left field, driving in Clarke with the game's first run.
Thanks to another key defensive play in the top of the sixth inning, the Wolves' kept their 1-0 lead intact. With La Salle having runners on first and second with one out, Tualatin second baseman Jackson Larrance and shortstop Xavier Otto turned a double play to end the inning.
The Wolves then added a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Griffin Biggs, leading off the frame, had an infield single. He then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch with two outs in the inning. Clarke then drew a walk. Tualatin then successfully executed a double steal, with Biggs stealing home on the play, upping the lead to 2-0.
Clarke would move to third on a wild pitch and then score on an infield single by Christensen, capping off the scoring in the Wolves' 3-0 victory.
"The key was base running, winning the little battles," Clarke said. "When I got on second, we got (Griffin) Biggs in. Things like that were big in getting the win."
"It's awesome," Rogers said. "We have a lot of new guys this year, and some of us older guys need to step up. We need to show the young guys what varsity is all about, show the intensity."
Rogers pitched the first five innings of the shutout win. He gave up five hits, while striking out six and walking one.
"I was battling a little bit of a shoulder injury, but I was doing the best I could for my team," Rogers said. "I made the right pitches, and hit my locations. It was good."
Krahnke pitched the last two innings, giving up one hit, while striking out one and walking none.
"Raj (Luke Rogers) did a great job," Clarke said. "He gave up very few hits. Same with Max. It was great."
Christensen helped lead the Tualatin offensive attack, going 3 for 3 at the plate with a stolen base and an RBI. Clarke went 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored. Biggs went 1 for 3 with two stolen bases and a run scored. Krahnke went 1 for 3 with an RBI. Connor Goodhue also had a single for the Wolves.
Tualatin continues play at the tournament on Friday with a 3 p.m. game against Lakeridge. On Saturday, Tualatin will face Redmond in a tourney contest starting at 12:30 p.m.
"I'm hoping to win this tournament," Clarke said.