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Southridge sweeps a second straight time in league to go 6-0

by: MILES VANCE - Southridge's Jacob Zanon fires a fastball toward home in the first inning of his team's 6-0 win over Sunset at Southridge on April 18.
BEAVERTON — The Southridge baseball team got to break out the brooms for a second straight week, but it wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy.

The Skyhawks, hosting Sunset in the finale of their three-game series on April 18, led just 2-0 through 5-1/2 innings, but broke through for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to pave the way to their 6-0 win at Southridge High School. The victory lifted Southridge’s Metro League record to 6-0 (9-7 overall) and kept it in a first-place tie with Westview.

“It’s always nice to sweep a team, but we know there’s tougher baseball ahead of us,” said Southridge senior right fielder Reza Aleaziz, who went 2 for 2 at the plate, drove in one run and scored three times. “We’ve just got to keep working to get better every game.”

Southridge designated hitter Parker Stidham, who went 1 for 2 at the plate and knocked in two runs, said that his team’s defense — highlighted by a rally-stopping double play in the fifth inning — set the tone for the victory.

“Big plays like that are momentum changers that will win or lose a ballgame,” Stidham said. “If you get a play like that, it can just put out the fire.”

The Apollos, meanwhile, saw their Metro record fall to 1-5 (5-10 overall) but knew just how close to victory they’d come.

“They strung (their hits) together well and they hit well, but I think we should have beat them,” said Sunset senior shortstop Landon Coffey, who went 2-for-2 at the plate in the loss. “We just have to bounce back. It’s a team thing. It’s not about just one individual. The whole team’s got to be in it.”

Southridge senior pitcher Jacob Zanon made sure his team had plenty of time to get its offense going, shutting down the Apollos on just six hits, one walk and two hit batters while striking out six. The Skyhawks pushed across their first run in the bottom of the second when Aleaziz singled to center with one out, took second when Stidham grounded out, then scored on Alex Beekman’s infield single and a Sunset error.

The Skyhawks pushed their lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Aleaziz collected an infield single, took second on a Sunset error, then scored when Stidham doubled to right-center field.

For their part, the Apollos stranded one runner in the first inning, another in the second and two more in the third, but their best scoring chance came in the top of the fifth. There, still trailing just 2-0, Coffey was hit by a pitch with one out, and next batter Trevor Caldwell stepped to the plate and ripped a shot toward third base. But Southridge senior third baseman Stephen Wendt made a lunging stop of the line drive, then gathered himself and doubled Coffey off first to stop the threat.

The Apollos threatened again in the sixth, getting a two-out walk by Garrett Nordyke and a single from Chad Maheu, but Zanon got Jake Neeson to ground to second for the third out.

In its half of the sixth, the Skyhawks finally got the insurance runs they’d been chasing. Sunset starter Dylan Hollister, who gave up just five hits, two walks and a hit batter through five innings, tired in the sixth, saw Southridge load the bases without a hit and walked in the Skyhawks’ third run before giving way to reliever Caldwell.

Caldwell walked another run home, hit a batter for Southridge’s fifth run, and Zanon hit a sacrifice fly for the final 6-0 margin.

“It always helps the team when you have strong pitching and Parker (who threw a two-hit shutout on April 17) and Jacob really helped the team this week,” Aleaziz said. “These guys picked us up Wednesday and Thursday.”

Next up, the Skyhawks face Jesuit in a three-game series that starts Tuesday at Southridge, moves to Jesuit on Wednesday and concludes at Southridge on April 25. All games are scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m.

“It’s good to look forward to, but we have to come out strong and take the momentum we got from these last two series,” Stidham said.

The Apollos face Aloha next week, hosting the Warriors on Tuesday, playing at Aloha on Wednesday and hosting the Warriors again on April 25, with all games set for 4:45 p.m. starts.

“We have little glimpses of brilliance, so I think (Aloha) better look out next week,” Coffey said. “I think we’ll be OK. It’s all about getting better over the season.”

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