Tigard plays well at Lake Oswego OIBA tourney

by: DAN BROOD - OUT AT HOME -- Tigard Longhorns catcher Bradley Imai (left) tags out West Linn's Braden Vogt at home plate during the second inning of Friday's game at the 2013 Grenade Gloves Classic held at Lake Oswego High School.LAKE OSWEGO — The Tigard OIBA baseball team may have come away with some mixed results during play at the 2013 Grenade Gloves Classic, but one thing was for sure at the tournament — the Longhorns showed a flare for the dramatics.

The Tigard team went 2-2 at the eight-team tournament, held last Thursday through Sunday at Lake Oswego High School. The Longhorns, after rallying from a six-run deficit, lost one of their games in extra innings, but they also rallied to end the tourney with a walk-off victory.

“That’s the goal for us — we want to play as hard as we can every game and see what happens,” said Tigard High junior-to-be Jarod Gogal following Friday’s extra-inning loss to West Linn. “We’re real young, but we’re getting experience and building chemistry.”

“Our younger guys are stepping up,” said Stace Shillitto, who coached the Longhorns at the tournament. “And this is one of the most fun groups we’ve had here. They’re enjoyable to be around.”

The Tigard squad opened the tournament last Thursday with a win over Sunset.

Then, on Friday, the Longhorns and West Linn got together for a wild contest. Although, at the start, it looked like the Lions would run away with a victory.

After a scoreless first inning, West Linn erupted for five runs in the top of the second inning. Brayden Pene and Braden Vogt each had RBI singles and Parker Huffman stole home as part of a double steal for West Linn in the frame.

The Lions added on another run in the top of the third inning, when Jackson Brooke doubled in Huffman, to make the score 6-0.

But the Longhorns, seemingly unfazed by the early deep deficit, came battling back in their half of the frame.

Tigard’s Tyler Walker reached first base on a West Linn error to lead off the bottom of the third. Gogal then doubled high off the fence in left field, with Walker moving to third on the hit. One out later, Walker scored on a wild pitch to make the score 6-1.

The Longhorns didn’t stop there. Gogal also come home on a wild pitch to make the score 6-2. Later in the inning, Shane Rasor, who singled, came around to score on a single by Brady McGetrick. Bruin Campbell, who drew a walk earlier in the frame, would score on a single by Jessie Bye to cap off Tigard’s big inning and trim the Lion lead to 6-4.

The Longhorns continued their rally in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gogal reached base on an error to start the frame and he then stole second base. David Schimmels followed with a single to right field, with Gogal advancing to third base on the hit.

One out later, Gogal scored when West Linn committed an error on a hard-hit grounder by Rasor, trimming the lead to 6-5. Schimmels then scored on a sacrifice fly by Campbell to tie the game up at 6-6.

West Linn regained the lead, at 7-6, when Chase Meyers singled in Brooke in the top of the sixth inning. The Lions got another run in the top of the seventh to up their lead to 8-6.

But the Longhorns came through in the clutch in the bottom of the frame.

Bye, Bradley Imai and Henry Amman drew consecutive walks to start the inning. Gogal then ripped a double to deep center field, with Bye and Imai both scoring on the hit to tie the game at 8-8. But Tigard couldn’t score again in the frame, sending the contest to extra innings.

Neither team scored in the eighth inning. But, in the top of the ninth, Rudy Hughes hit a one-out triple for West Linn, and he scored on a bloop single off the bat of Garrett Meissen to give the Lions a 9-8 lead.

Tigard went down in order in the bottom of the frame, leaving West Linn with a hard-fought 9-8 victory.

“That was as close as could be,” Gogal said. “We struggled early, then we turned the gear on. We just tried to chip away. We fought hard. We got the tail end of it today, but we grew.”

“We dug ourselves a hole,” Shillitto said. “But the kids stayed with it. They competed.”

Tigard, as a team, had seven base hits in the contest. Gogal went 2 for 4 at the plate with two doubles, two runs scored, two RBIs and a stolen base.

“I just saw the ball and hit it,” Gogal said of his two doubles. “I tried to drive it. I’ve been working hard in the (batting) cage.”

Schimmels had a pair of hits, including a double, and Rasor, McGetrick and Bye added one hit apiece.

On Saturday at the tournament, Tigard fell 4-1 to Lake Oswego despite getting a strong pitching performance from Bye, who needed just 68 pitches to turn in a six-inning, complete-game performance on the mound.

Tigard finished up tourney play Sunday with a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Oregon City.

The Longhorns trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning of that game. They got the game-winning run on a two-out single by Rasor.

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