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Baseball team advances to second round

Karsen Lindell quiets Roseburg's bats as the Lions move on to face Clackamas


by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn shortstop Braden Vogt bears down on a Roseburg runner caught in a run-down in Monday's 3-1 playoff victory. The drastic turnaround for West Linn's baseball team now includes a playoff victory, the program's first since 2011. The Lions, who were one of the hottest teams in the state heading into the postseason, kept trucking Monday, ousting Roseburg 3-1 in front of a capacity crowd at home.

“It's not how you start, it's how you finish. I feel like we have really strong pitching right now and in the playoffs anything can happen,” coach Joe Monahan said.

On the surface, it appeared to be a dominant pitching performance and, in many ways, that was accurate. Roseburg struggled to make good contact against starter Karsen Lindell all afternoon but they weren't lacking in base runners and scoring opportunities.

The Indians had runners in scoring position virtually every inning, often with less than two outs as a tight strike zone led to multiple walks.

“There's not much you can do. I just had to hit my zones and trust my defense behind me,” Lindell said.

But Roseburg couldn't come up with the one hit that could have broken the game open. Instead it was the Lions who got the key knocks they needed to advance to the round of 16.

Lindell would throw five scoreless innings before leaving with runners on first and second and no outs in the top of the sixth. Trevor Wells then pitched out of that jam and escaped more trouble in the seventh to lock down the win.

Roseburg loaded the bases in the top of the second before Lindell came up with a key strikeout. The Indians then put runners on the corners with one out in the third inning after a pair of walks and a wild pitch.

Lindell then induced a ground out to third base and another strikeout to keep the game scoreless.

West Linn would break through in the bottom of the third. Braden Vogt, Tim Tawa and Lindell all reached on singles to load the bases.

Then, with two outs, Nicholas Yokubaitis knocked a two-run single to right field to make it 2-0.

Roseburg loaded the bases again on the fourth inning with a pair of walks and a hit batsman but Lindell also struck out three batters to get out of the jam.

In the bottom of the fifth, Vogt led off by drawing a walk and was moved to second on a bunt from Tawa. Lindell then helped his cause with an RBI single to give the Lions some insurance.

After getting into trouble again in the top of the sixth, Lindell yielded to Wells, who has been a lights out closer for West Linn down the stretch this season.

Wells gave up a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position and then got a come-backer and a harmless fly ball to end the frame.

In the top of the seventh, Roseburg had one more rally. A single, double and hit batsman loaded the bases with just one out. The next batter smashed a ground ball up the middle which was speared by Vogt. Vogt recovered to get the out at second base as a run scored on what was potentially a game-saving play.

“I think we gave them about nine free base-runners today but our shortstop made just a great play,” Monahan said.

Wells then struck out the final batter of the game to earn the save.

West Linn moved on to face league rival Clackamas Wednesday night. The Lions took two of three games from the No. 5 Cavaliers in the regular season. Results were not available at press time. The Lions have not advanced to the quarterfinals since 2007.




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