Tualatin tipped in OIBA tourney title tilt
TUALATIN — For the Tualatin OIBA baseball team, it certainly seemed to be a heck of summer season.
The Dawgs, sponsored by Suburban Door, took the top spot in the Lolich Division. They opened play at the season-ending OIBA National tournament with a pair of impressive victories to earn a spot in the championship game.
About the only thing the Tualatin squad didn't accomplish was getting a victory in the title contest.
The Dawgs, after battling their way to the tournament final, fell 6-0 to Clackamas in the championship game, played Saturday at Tualatin High School.
"Today, we had a good game before this. We played well," Shaun Christensen, a Tualatin High School senior-to-be, said, referring to the Dawgs' 3-0 semifinal win over Grant earlier on Saturday. "This one, we came out struggling. The break didn't go as well as we thought it would."
"I didn't think we played very well in this one," Tualatin senior-to-be Blake Jackson said. "We had been playing well in this tournament. We'd been playing well this summer all the way up to this one. We just didn't have it in this last game."
With the win, Clackamas won the OIBA title for the second straight year, while ending its season with a final overall record of 27-8. Tualatin finished its season with a final overall mark of 21-6.
"We had a solid summer," Jackson said. "I was proud of how we turned out. I honestly didn't know how we'd do this summer. Some guys stepped up and impressed me. Some younger guys I didn't even know if they were going to be on the team, came up and did well this summer. We're looking good for next year."
"I think we had a way-better summer than a lot of people thought we would," Christensen said. "I feel really good about how we're looking going into next spring."
Clackamas, the designated home team, got off to a fast start in Saturday's tournament championship game. The Hammers, getting RBI singles by Brody Upton and Grant Edgerly, scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a quick 4-0 lead.
Clackamas, with Edgerly driving in another run, and with Nick Holm adding an RBI double, scored two more runs in the bottom of the second inning to up its lead to 6-0.
Tualatin, which got just three hits off of Clackamas pitcher Robby Butenschoen in the first four innings — singles by Griffin Biggs and Connor Goodhue and a double by Campbell Clarke — tried to battle back late in the game.
Christensen, leading off the top of the fifth inning, reached base on an infield single. One out later, Max Krahnke then hit a first-pitch single to left field. But Butenschoen got a strikeout and a fly out to get out of the jam.
Then, in the top of the seventh inning, Christensen was hit by a pitch with one out in the frame. Colin Van Valin followed with a single to left field. But Butenschoen was again able to escape unscathed, getting a fly out to deep center field, followed by a strikeout, wrapping up the 6-0 victory for the Hammers.
"The bottom of our order came up, and got some big hits," Jackson said. "I thought we were going to have a rally, but it just didn't happen."
"Better late than never," Christensen said. "We were just trying our best, seeing if we could do something. It didn't work out, but we tried our best."
Riley Maclean pitched strong for the Dawgs in relief in the title game. He gave up two runs on six hits, while striking out one and walking two in five and one-third innings of work.
Christensen, playing at shortstop, second baseman Joey Myers and Krahnke, at first base, also teamed up for a pair of double plays on defense.
But, maybe the most important thing for the Dawgs, from the summer season, is a sense of confidence and optimism for the 2020 spring high school baseball season.
"This shows that teams will have to be prepared for us," Christensen said. "No one is going to walk all over us."
"I really think we'll do better than people expect us to," Jackson said. "I had a really fun summer."
Butenschoen, pitching the distance for Clackamas in the title game, gave up no runs on six hits, while striking out four and walking none. Edgerly went 3 for 4 at the plate with a run scored and two RBIs. Upton went 2 for 4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
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