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Tigard looks to get rolling again

The Longhorns are taking some high hopes into OIBA tournament play
by: DAN BROOD SMACK — Tigard’s Erik Lien gets his bat on the ball during Sunday’s game with Platt Electric. Lien had two hits, including a double, in the 7-3 setback.

TIGARD - It's a simple plan for success.

Play hard. Get good pitching. Play good defense and swing the bats.

And the Tigard Longhorns baseball team hopes to turn that plan into a triumphant performance at the season-ending OIBA tournament.

The Longhorns, despite losing a best-of-three playoff series (to determine tournament seeding) with Platt Electric from Sunset High School, took high hopes into the 16-team, double-elimination OIBA tourney, which started Wednesday and runs through Sunday at Lakeridge and Sunset high schools.

'We're going to try to win it,' Jesse Wantland, a Tigard High School senior-to-be, said following the Longhorns' 7-3 loss to Platt Electric Sunday in the second game of the teams' three-game series. 'We need to swing the bats. Our pitching has been good and we've been playing good defense.'

'We're looking forward to it,' Tigard's Hikaru Mizuno said of the tournament. 'We need to play hard, give 100 percent and leave it all on the field. We want to do the best we can. We've won a good number of games this summer. We need to have good defense, hitting and pitching.'

Tigard was scheduled to open the tournament Wednesday with a first-round game against McMinnville. Results of that game weren't available when the Times went to press.

If the Longhorns won their game on Wednesday, they'll face either Jesuit or Sherwood today (Thursday) at 4 p.m. in a quarterfinal match-up to be played at Sunset High School. If the Longhorns lost on Wednesday, they'll meet Jesuit or Sherwood today at 10 a.m. at Sunset in a losers' bracket first-round game.

Tigard looked to be on a roll heading into postseason play, having placed first in the Olin Division. But in Friday's first game of the three-game seeding series, Platt Electric, the No. 2 seed out of the Lolich Division, ran to a 13-0 win in a contest played at Sunset High School.

The Longhorns were looking to bounce back in Sunday's series doubleheader at Tigard High School.

Tigard got off to a good start to Sunday's opening game, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Mizuno got things started by drawing a leadoff walk. He moved to second base on Erik Lien's single to right field. Both runners then moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Jake Biglow. Mizuno then scored the game's first run on a groundout by Wantland.

Platt Electric rallied to take a 2-1 lead by scoring a pair of runs in the top of the second inning.

Danny Yazzolino had the big hit of the frame for the Sunset team with a two-out double that plated both Ryan Carter and Dylan Hollister.

Platt Electric was still clinging to its 2-1 advantage going into the top of the fifth before adding onto its lead. The visitors, getting a three-run home run by Carter, scored four times in the inning to push their lead to 6-1.

The Longhorns got a run back in their half of the fifth after Wantland belted a home run deep over the fence in right-center field, making the score 6-2.

'I was mad because I missed the pitch before,' Wantland said of the home run, his second of the summer season. 'I think I got it all.'

Platt Electric, with Jalen Miller scoring from third on a squeeze bunt by Austin Hempy, got a run in the top of the seventh to go up 7-2.

Tigard tried to rally in its half of the inning.

Lien doubled to left field to lead off the frame. Two outs later, Tucker Campbell doubled to left field, driving in Lien to make the score 7-3. But Cameron Russ, who pitched a complete game for Platt Electric, coaxed a fly out for the final out of the game, wrapping up the victory for the Sunset team.

'We're having a bit of a lull on offense with our pitching,' Tigard coach Tom Campbell said following the game. 'We just haven't been hitting the ball well.'

The Longhorns did come back to win Sunday's second game, getting a 2-0 victory.

Kyler Heaston pitched the first five innings for Tigard in the shutout win, with Biglow throwing the final two frames.

Lien had a pair of hits and an RBI in the victory and Wantland drove in the other Tigard run.

The win gives the Longhorns a record of 32-22 going into the season-ending tournament.

The OIBA tournament is set to run through Sunday with the championship game set to be played at 4 p.m. at Sunset.