The West Linn baseball team saw all colors of the spectrum during the 2019 Firecracker Classic tournament at Lakeridge.
On the plus side, the Lions' summer baseball team finished with an impressive 7-0 win over La Salle on Sunday, June 30. West Linn also battled to a 6-6 tie against Boise, Idaho, in its first contest on Saturday, June 29.
On the other side of the ledger, the Lions dropped a 1-0 decision to Jesuit in their Friday, June 28, tournament opener and came up on the short end of a 4-3 decision to Lakeridge — the eventual tournament champion — on Saturday afternoon.
"I thought we certainly proved that we have things we need to work on this weekend, but there were some promising moments," said West Linn shortstop Adam Simshauser, an incoming junior. "I had a couple solid hits this tournament and got on base a lot, but that doesn't really matter to me unless we win."
"I think we hit good in a couple games, but didn't really have the clutch hits to score runs," added Lion outfielder/pitcher Parker Stevenson.
Jesuit 1, West Linn 0: Teams come to the Firecracker Classic for good competition and the Lions certainly got it in their first-round game against Jesuit, the 2019 Class 6A state champions.
West Linn pitcher Colin Driscoll was stellar throughout the game, allowing just one run (in the top of the seventh inning) on five hits and two walks while striking out four.
Unfortunately for the Lions, Jesuit's Joe Schwab was just as good, holding West Linn scoreless on four hits and four walks while striking out two.
Jesuit's lone run came in the seventh when Jack Heyden walked with one out and scored when next batter Kade Wisher doubled to center field.
For West Linn, the Lions' best chances to score came in the second and seventh innings. In the second, Stevenson led off with a single to left and Clay Masters followed with a bunt single, but Schwab bore down there and got three straight outs to end the threat. In the seventh, Kace Naone singled with one out, Darren Wiancko reached base on an error and Naone advanced to third on an out before Schwab ended the contest.
West Linn 6, Boise 6: The Lions' first Saturday game was a back-and-forth affair that didn't end until Boise tied the game in the top of the seventh and neither team scored in the eighth.
For the game, Simshauser went 2 for 3 at the plate and scored twice, and Naone was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored.
"We tied and really should have won against the Boise team, which was the best team we played against," Simshauser said. "It would really help us out if we could start hitting better in general."
West Linn starter Gavin Turner threw five innings and allowed five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three, then gave way to Stevenson for one scoreless inning. Jonathan Kelly came on for the final two frames, with Boise using a walk by John Brookins, a stolen base and an RBI single from Quadias LeBlanc to tie the game at 6-6.
Naone had RBI singles in both the first and third innings to pace the Lions.
Lakeridge 4, West Linn 3: Lakeridge came up a winner in its Saturday opener, rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat West Linn 4-3, getting four hits to score three runs and dump the Lions.
"I'd say we definitely have some stuff to work on as a team offensively to score more runs," Stevenson said.
After West Linn scored twice in the top of the eighth — Naone hit an RBI double and later scored on a wild pitch — the Pacers rallied in their half of the eighth. There, A.J. Russell led off with a double and Shaun Leib singled to chase West Linn starter Sam Russell. Then, with Kelly on in relief, Lakeridge's Mac Elske followed with a run-scoring groundout, Colin Hardy hit an RBI double to left and Michael Brannon Jr. singled to right to bring home the final runs.
For the game, Driscoll led West Linn with three hits and one RBI, while both Kelly and Naone added two hits each in the loss. For Lakeridge, Hardy went 2 for 3 with one RBI and one run, while Elske threw all eight innings, allowing three runs on 11 hits and one walk while striking out 10.
West Linn 7, La Salle 0: The Lions finished on a high note in their Sunday contest against La Salle, banging out four runs in the first inning and getting a three-hitter from Brandon Alexander, Zach Johnson and Kyle Sullivan.
After a shutout first inning by Alexander (he got the win after pitching three innings and allowing no runs on one hit and no walks while striking out three), the Lions took over in their four-run first.
Caden Parker was hit by a pitch to get things started, Simshauser bunted Parker to third and he scored on Naone's bunt. Stevenson bunted again to load the bases and Simshauser scored on Masters' sacrifice. Naone came home on Driscoll's sacrifice and Wiancko made it 4-0 when he tripled to right.
For the game, Simshauser went 2 for 2 and scored once, and Parker, Naone and Zac Hoover all added one hit, one RBI and one run.
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