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Horizon tunes up for the state playoffs


The Hawks roll to a victory over West Valley foe Dayton

by: DAN BROOD - YOU'RE OUT -- Horizon Christian senior catcher Camden Muller (right) tags out Dayton's Jared Tompkins in last week's game. TUALATIN — The Hawks say they were focusing on getting ready for the Class 3A state playoffs.

Well, if last Thursday’s West Valley League playoff game is any indication, then they certainly seem to be on their way to meeting that goal.

The Horizon Christian High School baseball team continued its postseason preparation by running to a 9-1 win over Dayton in WVL playoff tilt held last Thursday at Horizon Christian High School.

“We’re definitely getting ready for the playoffs,” Horizon Christian junior Trent Pihas said after the win. “That’s our mentality. We know that every game can be our last.”

“Our goal right now it to get really for the playoffs,” Horizon junior Colton Cosner said. “We’re excited for the playoffs. We need our pitchers to throw strikes, and our bats will take care of themselves.”

“The bottom line is that we need to execute the fundamentals at playoff level,” Horizon Christian coach Alex Esquerra said. “We need to focus on that every game.”

The Hawks, with the win over Dayton coupled with a 7-4 non-league win at Country Christian, took an overall record of 23-4 as well as a 21-game winning streak into the Class 3A state playoffs.

“We’ve bonded well as a team,” Pihas said of the winning streak. “Our chemistry has come right back this year. We’re all hitting the ball well, and we push each other in practice.”by: DAN BROOD - MAKING THE THROW -- Horizon Christian junior second baseman Colton Cosner (left) makes a throw to first after forcing Dayton's Jarred Ashley out at second base.

The Hawks were scheduled to host Burns in a Class 3A state playoff first-round game on Wednesday. Results of that game weren’t available when The Times went to press.

Horizon was able to strike quick in last week’s game with Dayton, pushing a pair of runs across the plate in the bottom of the first inning.

Pihas got things going with a leadoff single to left field. He stole second base and scored the game’s first run on senior Camden Muller’s two-out single to right-center field. Muller scored later in the frame on a Dayton error to make the score 2-0.

The Hawks struck for three more runs in the bottom of the second inning. Mitchell McKinney scored on a one-out single by junior Nate McGill for the first run of the frame. Freshman Chase Cosner drove in McGill with a double down the left-field line and Pihas, who had a bunt single, scored on a sacrifice fly by Colton Cosner to make the score 5-0.

The Hawks took advantage of Dayton error in the fourth inning to score two more runs. After Dayton got a run in the top of the sixth inning, Horizon Christian, taking advantage of two more Pirate errors, and a hit batter, scored two runs in its half of the frame to make the final score 9-1.

“It went well,” Pihas said of the win. “It worked out well for us.”

“Our pitchers did real well,” Colton Cosner said.

by: DAN BROOD - BIG CUT -- Horizon Christian senior Samson Schweiger takes a swing during the Hawks' win over Dayton.Junior Matthew Gilbert, called up from the Hawks’ junior varsity, picked up the pitching victory. In six innings of work, the left hander gave one run on two hits while striking out nine and walking six.

Meanwhile, the Horizon Christian offense pounded out eight hits in addition to drawing eight walks, in the win.

“That the kind of hitting team we have,” Esquerra said.

Pihas led the hitting attack, going 3 for 4 at the plate with two stolen bases and three runs scored. Muller, McGill, Chase Cosner, Colton Cosner and senior Mitch Sheldon added one hit apiece.

Horizon Christian, if it won it state playoff opener on Wednesday, will host either Vale or Pleasant Hill in a state playoff quarterfinal game on Friday.