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Robinson battles into OIBA tourney

The defending champs make sure they get a chance to defend in '11
by: David Ball DOWN AND DIRTY — Robinson Construction’s Marcus Rethwill slides into third base during his team’s 10-7 win over Sandy on Saturday at Westview High.

BEAVERTON - Robinson Construction wasn't about to miss out on the OIBA state tournament.

Robinson, Westview's OIBA summer baseball team, finished in a second-place tie in the Olin Division during the OIBA's regular season, but was seeded just fourth in the playoffs. Because of that, the team had to beat Sandy (the fifth seed from the Lolich Division) in a best two-of-three elimination series just to get to the 16-team double-elimination championship tournament.

And beat them Robinson did, drilling Sandy 9-1 at Sandy High School on Friday, then coming from behind to win 10-7 at Westview on Saturday.

'We felt like we should get in,' said Westview coach Steve Antich. 'If we play like we did in the Clackamas tournament, we should have a chance.'

Robinson opened the OIBA tournament against Tualatin - the Murphy Division champions - last night (Wednesday) at Lakeridge High School. With a win there, Robinson would face the Clackamas vs. Oregon City winner at 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at Lakeridge; with a loss on Wednesday, Robinson would face the Clackamas-Oregon City loser at 10 a.m. today.

Robinson 9, Sandy 1

SANDY - Robinson sent ace pitcher Carson Kelly to the hill for the Friday season opener, and Kelly - just back from a stint with the US 18U National Team - responded big-time.

Kelly gave up a single run in the first inning, then shut down Sandy for the rest of the game, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out 11.

'Carson looked good,' Antich said. 'He gave up that first run and then he shut them down.'

Robinson's hitters did their job as well, scoring nine unanswered runs to pull away and seal the victory in the series opener.

Robinson benefited from four walks and a hit batter in its four-run third, added two more walks and another run in the fourth, then tacked on four more in the fifth, with CJ Garcia getting a sacrifice fly, Kelly a run-scoring single and Kyle Henderson an RBI triple.

Robinson 10, Sandy 7

ROCK CREEK - Sandy was on the verge of forcing a third game on Saturday when Robinson put the hammer down and closed out its series sweep.

The Pioneers led 3-2 early, then loaded the bases in the third inning and got back-to-back doubles by Bryce Tilton and Blake Robison to expand the margin to 7-2.

But Robinson reliever Michael Ehlen recovered from those two big hits, struck out the next two batters and wouldn't allow another hit until the seventh inning.

Robinson started its comeback against Sandy with run-scoring singles from both Shane Suyama and Austin Melhart, then pulled within a single run in the fourth after Marcus Rethwill and Kelly came home on a Sandy balk and an error.

That set the stage for more Robinson heroics, with Kelly singling home Garcia to tie the game at 7-7, Kyle Henderson following with a two-run double to center that brought in both Marcus Rethwill and Kelly, and Yota Ishii launching a shot over the right fielder's for an RBI triple and another insurance run.

Sandy's Cody Welty and Cody York combined for back-to-back hits that put the tying run in the batter's box with one out in the seventh, but Ehlen got a fly ball for the second out and the third when Sandy's lead runner got caught in a rundown off third base.

'The guys kept swinging, they had good approaches and they kept slugging away,' Antich said.