Tualatin holds on to win OIBA tourney opener
TUALATIN — Sometimes, one is enough.
One big inning, that is.
The Tualatin Dawgs, scoring all three of their runs in the bottom of the third inning, battled their way to a 3-2 win over Oregon City in a quarterfinal game of the season-ending OIBA National tournament, being held at Tualatin High School.
"We tend to have one big inning, and we just have to get all those runs," said Tualatin High School senior-to-be Campbell Clarke, who doubled in a run in the Dawgs' three-run third. "This was a great game. I loved the energy we had today, the playoffs, it's great."
"This was very important," said Tualatin senior-to-be Joey Myers, who turned in a complete-game pitching performance. "We got the first one done, now we're only two away. We had to come out strong and get the win. The key was getting some timely hits when we needed them. We got them in that one big inning. Then we made the plays on defense. (Third baseman) Shawn (Hunt) made a great play to end the game."
Tualatin followed up the win over Oregon City by getting a 3-0 victory against Grant in a tournament semifinal game on Saturday.
With the two wins, the Dawgs improved to 21-5 on the summer season, and they also advance to the tourney championship game, where they'll face either Clackamas or Lake Oswego in a game set to start at 6 p.m. at Tualatin High School.
"This is the tournament to win, right here," Clarke said.
Tualatin, in Friday's game with Oregon City, ended a scoreless tie by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Connor Goodhue drew a leadoff walk to get things started. Griffin Biggs followed with a double down the left-field line, with Goodhue moving to third base on the hit.
Myers then blooped a single to left field, driving in both Goodhue and Biggs, giving the Dawgs a 2-0 lead.
Then, following a fielder's choice grounder by Blake Jackson, with Myers being forced out at second, Clarke blasted a double to deep center field, plating Jackson to up the Tualatin lead to 3-0.
"I said, 'OK, I have to get one more run in,' I wasn't comfortable with two runs," Clarke said. "So, I just sat on that fastball when he gave it to me, and I took it deep. That felt great. It came off the bat nice and easy."
Tualatin kept the 3-0 lead going into the top of the sixth inning, but that's when Oregon City came fighting back. The Black Sox, getting four hits and a bases-loaded walk, scored a pair of runs in the frame, cutting the margin to 3-2. Oregon City could have possibly done more damage in the inning, Myers coaxed an inning-ending pop-out with the bases loaded.
Still, there was plenty of drama in the top of the seventh inning. With one out in the frame, Robert Boland was hit by a pitch. Diego Marquez followed with a single to left field, putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base.
The next Oregon City batter, Jordan Weseman, hit a grounder to third. Hunt fielded the ball, touched third base, and made a throw across the diamond, with Tualatin first baseman Riley Maclean making a stretching catch to complete the game-ending double play.
"We had to keep our confidence," Myers said. "Obviously, they did a nice job getting some hits, but we stayed up and made the plays when we had to. We could have easily folded, but we got that big play to end the game."
"Our defense stayed locked in," Clarke said. "I have good trust in our defense, and we made the plays and got it done."
Myers, in getting the pitching win, gave up two runs on five hits, while striking out four and walking one.
"I was a little worn out," Myers said. "It's hot out here, and I didn't start all year. I just moved into the starting rotation, so I was a little tired, but I had to push through."
Shaun Christensen, Cole Van Valin, Myers, Biggs and Clarke each had a hit for the Dawgs in the victory.
"Man, this is the most fun there is in summer ball," Clarke said.
"This was a lot of fun," Myers said. "I love getting out here to compete."
Clarke turned in a complete-game shutout pitching performance for Tualatin in the 3-0 tourney semifinal win over Grant.
In seven innings of work, Clarke gave up three hits, while striking out 10 and walking two.
The Dawgs broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Christensen started things with a one-out single to center. Van Valin followed with a single. Christensen then scored on a single by Max Krahnke. Biggs then hit a two-out double to bring home Van Valin. Tualatin added another run in the bottom of the sixth, when Krahnke singled in Christensen.
For the game, Krahnke went 2 for 2 at the plate with two RBIs. Biggs went 2 for 3 with two doubles and an RBI. Van Valin went 2 for 3 with a run scored.
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