Northwest Star Academy took care of two of its Regional foes with ease over the weekend, but couldnt get past a third as Gerding Builders out of Corvallis blocked the Knights path to state.
Northwest Star suffered its first setback 14-6 in Saturdays semifinals and would lose the title game rematch (see sidebar) on Sunday in the AAA American Legion regional tournament.
Corvallis built a 9-1 lead midway through the semifinal showdown, fueled in large part by Northwest Star errors, hit batsmen and dropped third strikes. Six of those early runs came with two outs.
Northwest Star showed signs of life in the bottom of the fifth, putting its first three hitters on base. Each of them came in to score on a two-run single to center field by Houston Thom and an RBI-single to right field by Carson Dwyre.
The Knights had a chance to slice further into the deficit after loading the bases in the sixth inning, but the team came up empty when Caleb Smith tracked down a high fly ball in left field.
Northwest Star put together its last gasp on an RBI-fielders choice by Bryce Tilton and an RBI-single by Thom to bring the Knights within 10-6 in the eighth inning.
But the Knights gave up four runs in the ninth and went down in order in their final at-bats.
Scooter Turin swung the biggest bat for the Knights, going 4-for-4 and scoring twice. He was hit by a pitch in his other at-bat.
Dwyre struck out six batters and retired the side in order in the third inning. Kyle Riske came on in relief late in the fourth inning and put Corvallis down in order in the eighth.
Corvallis lead-off hitter Henry Rondeau went 3-for-4 with a double and scored five times. Corvallis starter Micah Ropp gave up four runs through seven innings on the mound.
Corvallis advances to play in the state tournament beginning Wednesday in Grants Pass.
Northwest Star opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over Albany, moving ahead on Dwyres walk-off single that capped a three-run ninth inning. The Knights outhit Albany 15-6 on the game. Turin led the way with four hits and two RBIs, while pitcher Jake Simmons tossed a complete game with seven strikeouts.
The Knights blew out Willamette Valley out of Springfield 11-1 in an elimination game Saturday night. The teams were deadlocked 1-1 most of the way before Northwest Star exploded for 10 runs over the final three innings. Dwyre and Bryce Tilton pounded out four hits apiece, while pitcher Hunter Crenshaw struck out five through eight innings.
View a photo gallery from Saturdays semifinal game at daveball.exposuremanager.com.