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Beaver baseball bucks out of slump with Warrior wipeout


Beaverton scores eight runs, most since opening day

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton second baseman Justin Wakem celebrates his bloop single RBI in the third inning of the Beavers 8-0 win over Aloha on Friday.

That boulder burdening the backs and shoulders of the Beaverton baseball team was noticeably absent as the victorious Beavers ascended the Hillsboro Hops Stadium steps on Friday afternoon and made their way to the parking lot.

Finally, following what felt like a three-month drought of insufficient run support and scuffling at-bats, Beaverton broke out its recent slump with an 8-0 smacking of Aloha to clinch at least a series win over the Warriors.

And to think, all it took for the Beavers break free from the hitting constraints that hobbled their Metro title hopes was a couple of days in the batting cage and a nickel-and-dime fielder's choice.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha first baseman Taylor Nelson hauls in a foul ball in the second inning against Beaverton.

With one out in the top of the third and Nolan Lafollette on first, Beaverton catcher junior Ryan Hill hit into what looked like an inning-ending double play. Aloha shortstop Nick Christophersen flipped the grounder to Nate Christophersen at second who turned and flicked the ball to first, but a hurrying Hill beat the throw to the bag by half a step.

Robby Valentine followed with a walk to move Hill to second base. Then, second baseman Justin Wakem took a pitch from Aloha's Brandon Eisert and blooped it to right field, giving Ryan Hill enough time to round third and score to give Beaverton a 1-0 lead.

“That's what pretty much started everything,” said Ryan Hill. “Everyone started hitting after that, and everybody was going after it. Our coaches are really on us about hustling it out. I knew I could make a play at first and maybe be safe, so I just went all-out, tried to get there and made it.”

Left-handed hitting Josh Hill succeeded Wakem's clutch knock by shelling a fastball to deep left-center that scooted to the wall and scored Valentine and Wakem, 3-0. Starting pitcher Sam Noyer struck out following Hill's hit, yet the Beavers at long last had put together the kind of energetic, high-scoring stanza they'd been after for the past month.

“Earlier in the season we'd get one or two outs on us and we'd just die in the dugout,” said Wakem. “But, now we have a totally different mentality. We stayed mentally tough and good things happened.”

Junior shortstop Corey Cornwell crushed an RBI single to center in the fourth, and Josh Hill tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly that extended Beaverton's advantage to 6-0.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton sophomore pitcher Sam Noyer pitched six high-end innings for the Beavers against Aloha.

“I think it's only going to go up from here,” said Wakem. “We have really good energy now. And, our team is all about momentum. I think this is really going to help us.”

Wakem said instead of taking hacks off the batting tee and cracking at soft toss offerings in the cages, Beaverton engaged in drills and stations that emphasized letting the ball getting deep in the strike zone and doing something productive with it. The little things that weren't stressed as much per se in the preseason were harped on repeatedly on during a six-day gameless stretch last week when rain forced the Beavers indoors. The crowning effect was Beaverton's highest scoring output since opening day when the Beavers bashed Century, only this positive production put the Beavers back in the Metro hunt.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha senior shortstop Nick Christophersen makes an off-balance throw to first for an out against Beaverton.

“Everyone's patient and looking for their pitch now” said Wakem. “We're a much more mature team now than when we were a week or so ago just from the extra reps. It's exciting that we can finally get around to it.”

“We put a lot of work this week and I feel like it definitely showed,” added Josh Hill. “Everyone's mood is so much more positive and everyone's happier. I feel like everyone plays better when good things happen.”

Noyer had his best outing of the season on the hill, striking out six in six innings of well-crafted work. In the sixth the sophomore stooped in a small jam, loading the bases after Aloha's Josh Williams reached on an error and Dylan Griffith got plunked in the back with a pitch. Yet, with two outs, Noyer got a routine groundout to Josh Hill at first, who scooped up the ball, called off his pitcher and tagged first to keep the scoreboard clean.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha lefty pitcher Brandon Eisert pitched five innings for the Warriors against Beaverton.

Junior Nolan Imus came on in the ninth and prompted a trio of groundouts for the win. Beaverton came back on Saturday and finished the sweep of the Warriors, 3-1, to move into a three-way tie for first in Metro with Westview and Sunset. Each of the Metro contenders are 4-2 in league play with Beaverton and Westview squaring off in a pivotal three-game series this week.