A two-out rally and strong pitching by the Cavs is enough to stop West Linn

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn's Karsen Lindell applies a tag on a Clackamas runner down the third-base line in the Lions' playoff game with Clackamas last week.The West Linn baseball team's season came to an end against rival Clackamas last week. The Cavaliers, who had dropped two of three games to the Lions in the regular season, used a stellar pitching performance and a well-timed rally to get a bit of revenge, topping West Linn 5-1 in the second round.

It was the Lions who struck first. After being no-hit for more than six innings against Taylor Stinson in the regular season, West Linn grabbed the early lead this time when Will Matthiessen doubled and scored on an RBI single from Brayden Pene.

That lead would hold up until the bottom of the fourth. On the mound, Jason Dailey was terrific. The left-hander had stymied the Cavaliers earlier in the year, shutting them down after entering a game in relief.

He held Clackamas scoreless through three innings and, after giving up a lead-off double who would come around to score on a one-out single, Dailey appeared to have gotten out of the jam.

He coaxed a ground ball that the Lions appeared to turn into a double play but the runner was ruled safe at first base, extending the inning.

That was followed by another single to bring up Clackamas' dangerous lead-off hitter who promptly belted a two-run triple into the outfield gap.

One more RBI single suddenly made it 4-1.

“It was a situation where they hit a ball that was just out of our reach and then we didn't get the call on the double play and suddenly they break the game open,” coach Joe Monahan said.

West Linn has been a team that has thrived on comebacks late in the season, however, the Lions simply couldn't sustain a rally against Stinson. Karsen Lindell had a single in the top of the sixth and Jackson Brooke added a two-out single in the seventh but West Linn would come up short.

“We didn't hit the ball very well. Ultimately, if you score just one run it's going to be tough to win,” Monahan said.

It was a stellar run for West Linn, one that saw the team turn another potential hard-luck season into one where they returned to prominence as a power in the difficult Three Rivers League.

The Lions will enter next season as defending co-champions of the league and will return the bulk of their team.

“I think we built a foundation this year and the players know they need to be committed early on,” Monahan said.

West Linn will retain the bulk of its pitching staff plus the heart of its line-up on a squad primed to challenge in the newly-configured TRL if not the state.

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