West Linn stays strong to top Tigard 4-2
It certainly wasn't easy.
It took two days, some late-inning drama and definitely, some anxious moments.
But when it finally all ended, it was the West Linn baseball team that emerged victorious.
The Lions, in a game that started April 19, was suspended due to rain and then finished on April 20, broke a long-standing 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the seventh inning, and then held off a Tigard rally in the bottom of the frame to win 4-2 in a Three Rivers League contest played at Tigard High School.
"That was a big momentum-gainer," said West Linn senior outfielder Chase Cosner, who scored two of the Lions' runs in the victory. "It's huge to get a win here."
"There was a lot of pressure," said West Linn junior Zach Anderson, who pitched the final three innings of the game of the Lions. "This was a lot of fun."
With the victory, West Linn improved to 6-1 in TRL play (12-4 overall), putting the Lions in a tie with Tualatin for first place in the league standings.
"This was the type of game you really want to win," Cosner said.
With the setback, Tigard moved to 4-3 in TRL play (10-5 overall), putting the Tigers in fourth place in the league standings.
"This was a good learning game for us," said Tigard senior third baseman Hunter Hughes. "You have to be ready all 21 outs. This was a good, intense game, and hopefully, we'll learn from it."
On April 19, the day the game began, both teams got off to a strong start, each scoring a run in the first inning. For the Lions in the top of the first inning, Cosner hit a one-out double to right field and then scored on a single by senior Jake Porter for a quick 1-0 lead.
Tigard answered back in the bottom of the inning when Tiger senior Parker Kuntz drew a one-out walk to get things started. He moved to second base on a wild pitch and then scored on a single by senior Riley Williams to tie the game 1-1.
Both starting pitchers, senior Ryan Driscoll for West Linn and junior Manny Andrade for Tigard, settled down from there and neither team scored over the next three innings.
But at the same time, a steady rain kept falling harder and harder. At the end of the fourth inning, with the game still knotted up 1-1, play was suspended due to rain.
When play resumed April 20, with Anderson on the mound for West Linn and senior Connor Wojahn pitching for the Tigers, both squads were looking to strike quick and break the 1-1 tie.
But after scoreless fifth and sixth frames — the Tigers held in check when West Linn junior catcher Micah Gibson threw out a runner on a stolen-base attempt in the sixth — the Lions were able to finally break through in the top of the seventh inning.
West Linn senior Evan King ed off with a walk, senior Tim Tawa reached second base on a Tigard error, with King moving to third, and Cosner followed with a bloop single to left field, driving in King to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.
"That has happened to me so many times," Cosner said with a laugh. "It came down to him (Tigard sophomore relief pitcher C.J. Rivers) throwing me a strike and he did."
Porter then singled in Tawa, and Gibson would single home Cosner to push the West Linn lead to 4-1 at the end of the inning.
But Tigard didn't go away without a fight.
Williams walked on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the inning for the Tigers. Rivers then singled to right field, with junior pinch-runner Michael Quintana moving to second base on the play. Thomas then reached on an infield single, loading the bases with no outs.
Anderson came back strong, striking out the next two Tigard batters he faced. But Hunter drew a walk, bringing home Quintana to make the score 4-2, but Anderson got out of trouble with a game-ending strikeout.
"He came through," Cosner said of Anderson.
"I felt good out there," Anderson said. "I love pressure."
In his three innings of work, Anderson gave up one run on four hits, while striking out four and walking three.
Cosner led the Lions' eight-hit offensive attack, going 3 for 3 at the plate, while Porter went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.
For Tigard, Thomas went 3 for 4 at the plate.
"A couple hits didn't go our way," Hughes said. "But I like the way we battled back. I love that. C.J. picked up some good experience. That will make him a better pitcher."
In Friday's rematch between the two squads, West Linn ran to an 11-0 victory in a game played at West Linn High School.