West Linn's Chase Cosner competes again in Oregon All-Star Series
West Linn's Chase Cosner finished his high school baseball career right where he wanted to finish it.
No, Cosner and his Lions didn't win a state championship — they dropped a tough 5-1 decision to Clackamas in the Class 6A title game back on June 3 — and no, Cosner and his North teammates didn't win the Oregon All-Star Series, held Saturday and Sunday at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.
But Cosner, a graduated senior center fielder who will play next year at Linn-Benton Community College, finished his career competing against the state's best and that was enough.
"I knew so many of the guys on my team already, it was just fun," Cosner said. "It was fun to play a series with so many guys I knew and liked."
Cosner — previously named first-team all-Three Rivers League and Honorable Mention all-state — and his North teammates won the Series' opener, beating the South 11-5 amidst 100-degree temperatures on Saturday, but fell short in Sunday's steamy doubleheader, losing game two 9-5 and the finale 12-9 at Goss.
"I couldn't believe we lost the last two. We shouldn't have lost those last two," Cosner said. "We thought we were the better team."
Despite the result, Cosner did what he always did — he competed and tried to lift his team to victory.
In game one, the South erased a 3-1 deficit to go up 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning. But the North came roaring back in the bottom of the frame to re-take the lead at 9-4 and rolled to its 11-5 victory.
Future Oregon Duck Kolby Somers of Century High School pitched four solid innings for the North and collected two hits, Sawyer Medlin of Grant relieved Somers and pitched two scoreless innings, and future Portland Pilot Brad McVay of Milwaukie picked up the win in relief.
Churchill outfielder Jose Chavez of the South banged out two hits and drove in three runs, while Cosner went 0 for 1 at the plate and drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, and North teammate Jordan Mambaje of Clackamas had two hits and drove in two more.
While Cosner was already friends with Mambaje, he admitted to some initial reticence about playing with the Clackamas players who had ended his high school season.
"I wasn't really a fan of theirs — and a kid from Sherwood — because they beat us this year, but (North coach John Arntson of Clackamas) was a super nice guy and I got to know them and it was cool," Cosner said.
In game two, the North managed to push across four runs in four innings against South starter Jacob Miller of West Albany, but couldn't keep its early advantage. The South, still trailing after five innings, broke through for six runs against North reliever Gage Gloster of Wilsonville in the sixth and pulled away to win 9-5.
"I'm not going to lie — our pitching struggled," Cosner said. "We walked way too many guys and then they'd get a big hit and score some runs."
The South's Isaiah Molaski (from South Eugene) went 1 for 1 and drove in three runs to lead his team, while Churchill's Michael Moore (he was later named the South's Most Outstanding Player) picked up the win in relief after throwing three innings and allowing one run on one hit and one walk while striking out two.
For his part, Cosner was 0 for 2 at the plate in game two.
And in game three — the South's clinching 12-9 victory — Cosner saved his best for last, going 3 for 5 at the plate, knocking in one run, scoring twice and stealing a base despite the oppressive heat.
"I definitely thought I was progressing every game," he said. "It was really hot out there so it was tough, but I was really able to stay loose and ready for my next at-bat."
Cosner said he will likely play with the Bend Bucks or Bend Elks this summer before beginning his college career in Albany in September.