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Young Tualatin Dawgs keep battling to the end

The Tualatin legion baseball team falls to Putnam before starting play in the Zone 7 playoffs
by: DAN BROOD, GREAT EFFORT — Suburban Door right fielder Levi Levesa makes a sliding catch of a fly ball in the Dawgs’ game with Taylor Electric.

TUALATIN - It probably wasn't the best way to prepare for a league tournament.

But that's what sometimes happens when you're young.

And, wow, is the Tualatin-based Suburban Door American Legion AAA baseball ever young.

Suburban Door, in its final game before entering the Zone 7 playoffs, fell 14-4 in five innings to Taylor Electric from Putnam High School in a game played Friday at Tualatin High School.

'I hate to keep saying this, but we're just young,' Suburban Door coach Matt Unis said. 'It's there, but we're just battling inconsistencies right now. We're doing a lot of work and a lot of learning. We'll be OK.'

Just how young are the Dawgs? Well, their first two pitchers in Friday's game are both Tualatin High School freshmen-to-be.

Even John Grill, who had the big hit of the game with a two-run, third-inning home run, will just be a sophomore this fall.

'We're young, but this experience will help us a lot,' Grill said. 'There are games where we have it together and games where we don't. But we'll be really good in the next few years. We love it.'

Taylor Electric, in Friday's game, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning behind a two-run single by Doug Zellar.

But Suburban Door came back strong in the bottom of the frame.

Woody Toms led off the inning with a single to center. Grill followed with a line-drive home run over the fence in center field for his third home run of the summer.

'I didn't know it was going to be a home run, but I knew I hit it hard,' said Grill, who was playing despite having a broken toe. 'The first-base coach told me it was over. That felt pretty good.'

The Dawgs added another run later in the inning when Alex Rosborough doubled and then scored on a single by Levi Levesa.

The Tualatin lead, however, was short-lived as Taylor Electric scored two runs in the third and three more in the fourth inning to take a 7-3 lead.

The Putnam team then all but put the game away by scoring seven more runs in the top of the fifth, upping its advantage to 14-3.

But Suburban Door didn't give up. Zach McPherson led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to left field. He moved to third on a balk and then scored on a single by Mitchell Lambson to make the final 14-4.

The night before, in a game at Oregon City, the Dawgs scored three runs in the top of the seventh as they rallied to score a 4-3 victory.

McPherson led off the Suburban Door seventh with a double and Toms added a double later in the inning to fuel the rally.

'We scrapped out a win yesterday,' Unis said. 'The kids are doing some good things.'

*****

Tualatin's league playoff stay ended in heart-breaking fashion at the Zone 7 playoffs, held in Canby, on Monday.

The Dawgs, facing Taylor Electric again, fell 4-3 in an elimination game.

Suburban Door led 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning of that game.

But the Putnam team tied the game in the sixth and scored the game-winning run on a two-out RBI infield single in the bottom of the seventh.