ATHENA - Once again there was no denying the mighty Weston-McEwen TigerScots on their home field in round two of the Oregon Class 1A/2A state baseball state playoffs here Friday night.
The potent Weston-McEwen offense scored 12 runs and good pitching limited the Lost River Raiders to a minimal amount of runs in the TigerScots' 12-3 victory.
The win pushes W-M's season record to 21-4 and sets up a showdown at home Tuesday in the semifinals against the Regis Rams for the right to play for the state title Friday.
The victory over the Raiders wasn't as pretty as it could have been. The TigerScots' speed, pitching, good at-bats and great defense led to the victory.
"Positive at-bats are what we stress," W-M coach T.J. Haguewood said. "You put the ball in play and we have some guys with speed that can beat the throws out on a little bobble or hitch by the opposing defense.
"Our pitching was also good and it really set the tone early for us. It allowed us to get back in the dugout quickly early and put those 10 runs up on the board in the first two innings. Our defense also played well behind our pitching."
The two runs in the bottom of the first for W-M were both unearned. Calvin Thacker singled and up came Dallas Reich. He smacked a scorcher past the shortstop and it bounced off the left fielder into center field.
The fielding error on the Raider left fielder allowed the speedy Thacker to score from first and Reich to reach third base on the throw home.
Reich took home on a wild pitch.
Starting TigerScot pitcher Elliot Salter gave up just two singles in the first two innings and got the TigerScots back to bat quickly.
The opportunistic W-M offense put up eight runs in the second inning. They did so with the help of three Raider errors and three Lost River walks. The TigerScots had an RBI single by Riley Sederburg in the charge.
W-M was aided by a hit-by-pitch RBI for Calvin Thacker, a bases-loaded walk to Salter and an RBI-groundout for Jared Bond.
Nick Lively led off the inning with an infield hit to get the rally started and the TigerScots batted around, sending 12 men to the plate in the inning.
Lively batted twice, stole two bases and scored twice in the inning - the second time by way of a wild pitch.
The Raider tried to respond to the W-M rally in the top of the third against Salter on the mound.
Lost River put up three runs - on three hits, three stolen bases and one TigerScot error.
"Elliot (Salter) pitched a great game and we put up 10 runs in the first two innings," Haguewood said. "He had to wait in the dugout awhile when we scored all those runs. He came out a little stiff and tired in the third and fourth innings when they got to him a little.
"But then Nick Lively came in on the mound in the middle of the fourth inning and did an excellent job of throwing strikes the rest of the game. I was real proud of both of those guys."
After getting out of the jam in the third with three Raider runs, Salter walked the first two Raiders batters in the top of the fourth.
This action gave way to Lively, who pitched the second half of the game for the TigerScots.
Salter gave up three runs on five hits and one strikeout in 3 1/3 innings. Lively struck out five, gave up three hits and no runs in 3 2/3 innings.
The TigerScots tacked on single runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Reich walked and stole second. Bond singled him in for his second RBI of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jerad Croswell singled and moved to both second and third on wild pitches.
Croswell scored on a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Salter to put the finishing touches on the game.
The TigerScots are now two wins away from a state championship.
"Just battling for a state championship is great," Haguewood said. "We need to take it one pitch, one inning and one game at a time. I told my team that I'm proud of them no matter what happens."
Haguewood said that it will take the best effort of his team to keep winning and that they will contend for the title.
"Success isn't necessarily all about winning," he said. "It is about going out there every time knowing that you put forth your best effort, and at the end of the day, hopefully, that will be enough to push you over the edge."
Weston-McEwen 12, Lost River 3
Lost River 003 000 0 - 3 7 5
W-M 280 110 x - 12 6 1
Salter, Lively (4) and Lively, Salter (4). Hickey and Ireland.
HR - none.
Hits - Lost River: Hickey 2, Carleton 2, McAuliffe, O'Grady, DeLonge. W-M: Croswell, C. Thacker, Reich, Lively, Sederburg, Bond.