By Jeremy McDonald
LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.– They came, they played, they won.
Following their epic nine-inning battle royal against the Greater Valley Conference Champs in West Salem, the Lakeridge Pacers flexed their defensive muscle as they’re bats roared for 10 runs on the Mount Hood Conference Champions in Gresham in a rain-shortened 10-1 victory Thursday.
Head Coach Marco Tavera said it came down to execution Thursday night after their battle against the Titans of West Salem and that execution came through with the bases loaded in the second inning down 1-0.
“”I thought we executed well, you look at the West Salem game, we had to battle, Both teams are good, both teams are good clubs, they’re going to make runs,” said Tavera on West and the Gophers. “Obviously both league champions, but we executed, made plays. Got behind, came back tied it up, made some more plays against West Salem. We had a walk-off, that’s huge for our guys.”
Kyle Beckley had that game winner and Tommy Andrew had a three-run homerun in that game as well.
That execution continued from Tuesday’s game as they got out of a bases loaded jam and got into the game.
“Tonight, it was execution,” said Tavera. “They scored a run early with the bases loaded, Everett (Webster) got out of it. We pitched out of it, something we do all year long. We’re not quick to the bullpen, we think our guys can dig themselves out of it.
“But then you look offensively, we scored our first run without having the ball leave the infield.”
How’s that? Three straight bunts in a row and a wild pitch.
Then the flood gates open, enter Dutton Elske.
Entering his at-bat in the second inning, Elske was 0-1. But by the fourth inning, the senior had two massive hits and four RBIs.
But Elske knows that this is how Pacer baseball is all about.
“That’s always been the key for us,” said Elske. “We’ve normally got a pretty solid defense, pitching is normally there and if we swing bats, we’re a pretty dangerous team.”
The rain was on and off throughout the whole game, but it peaked at it’s worse in the bottom of the fifth inning while Lakeridge were to bat when the refs called for a break.
After a few minutes, the game was called, but this won’t effect their mojo said Elske.
“I don’t think it’ll affect our mojo too much,” he said. “We came out expecting not knowing how it’s going to turnout but hopefully we came out ready to play. But I still think we’ll be ready to play on Monday. The four-plus innings we got, we scraped together some runs.”
These two games were beneficial however as the Pacers picked up four-straight wins, all against tough competition with West Linn, the Titans and now the Gophers entering their first round match-up against Barlow Monday afternoon.
“I think it’s really good for us because we’ve won a couple big games against West Linn and then these two games, we came out played well and it proved to us even more that we’re in this and we can hang with anybody and we’re ready for Barlow,” said Elske.
Now depending on the weather, the game may be played at Barlow High School Monday or at the turf fields of Sandy High School. More information about that will be released when announced.
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PHOTO GALLERY (PICTURES BY JEREMY MCDONALD)