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Falcons are still the team to beat in TVC baseball


Ranked third in the state, the La Salle Falcons last week continued as the team to beat in Tri-Valley Conference baseball, splitting with their cross-town rivals, and upending Estacada 15-3.

Last Thursday’s 15-3 win at Estacada left the Falcons (13-3, 8-1) two games up on second-place North Marion (16-4, 6-3) with six league games remaining. La Salle was to host Madras (4-15, 0-9) this afternoon, and the Falcons play North Marion on the road this Friday. The Falcons dealt the Huskies losses in two earlier games, but both contests went down to the wire.

“The kids have done a good job competing and staying focussed,” said La Salle coach Jake Austin. “But we still have a ways to go. We’re in a tough league, where anyone can beat you if you don’t come ready to play. Hopefully the kids will keep playing hard and working hard, and we’ll see what happens.”

The Falcons had their bats working last week, as they punished the ball for no fewer than 37 hits in their three games.

Sam Wade (3-for-5, 2 RBI) and Chris Dowhaniuk (3-for-5) had the big sticks in last week’s 15-3 trouncing of Estacada, as the Falcons reached Ranger pitchers for 12 hits. Wade, Connor Shride and Keaton Kryger had two RBI; Dowhaniuk, Dane Maben, Austin Vaughn, Kelly Krumm and Ole Arntson scored multiple runs.

Arntson (2 strikeouts, 4 walks), a freshman right-hander, was also tough on the mound, allowing just two hits in 5-2/3 innings of work.

The Falcons put three runs on the scoreboard in the first inning and they were in charge the rest of the way.

In other games played last week, the Falcons blanked Gladstone 6-0 on April 30, after dropping a 5-4 eleven-inning heartbreaker to their rivals earlier in the week.

Led by Maben (4-for-5, double), Krumm (3-for-3) and Vaughn (2-for-4), the Falcons outhit Gladstone 12-3 in the 6-0 win. Led by Wade (3-for-5), Krumm (3-for-5), Maben (2-for-5) and Connor Shride (2-run double), they earned a 14-13 edge in hitting in the 5-4 extra-inning loss.

The 6-0 win was a battle until the fifth inning, when the Falcons strung together six hits and scored five runs. Vaughn, Krumm, Shride, Dowhaniuk, Kryger and Maben all had base hits in the pivotal inning.

Vaughn was tough on the mound, striking out three and walking two, while giving up just three singles in a complete game shutout. His teammates played error-free behind him.

In the 5-4 loss, La Salle went up 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth, when Shride cracked a two-run double down the left field line.

But the Gladiators kept the game alive with a single tally in the top of the seventh, when they parlayed two singles, a sacrifice and a groundout into into a 4-4 tie. And they pushed the winning run across in the top of the 11th, scoring with two down on Chris Toh’s single up the middle.

The Falcons battled to the end in the loss. They had two runners on base when the Gladiators snagged a fly ball in left field and a ground ball at second, to end the game.