Dawgs nearly take it to the limit

The Tualatin-based team tipped close to the end of the OIBA tournament
by: Miles Vance TURNING TWO — Suburban Door shortstop Nathan Suyematsu (left), with second baseman Jon Fishback behind him, makes a throw to first base to complete a second-inning double play in the game with Jesuit.

LAKE OSWEGO - One more day.

That's all the Tualatin-based Suburban Door OIBA baseball team wanted.

That makes sense.

After all, the Dawgs were enjoying their summer season - a lot. And they wanted that season to continue as long as possible.

That didn't quite happen, as the Tualatin squad saw its season come to a close with a 5-1 loss to Jesuit in an OIBA tournament losers' bracket quarterfinal game played Saturday at Lakeridge High School. But that setback didn't seem to put a damper on the summer season, a season that ended just one day short of the OIBA tourney title contest.

'We had a lot of fun this summer,' Suburban Door shortstop Nathan Suyematsu said after Saturday's game. 'We learned a lot about ourselves and really meshed as a team. Losing is hard, but it taught us a lot.'

The Dawgs opened the tournament July 27 with a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind win over Robinson Construction from Westview (see related story).

The Tualatin team was then edged 2-1 by Clackamas last Thursday.

Suburban Door bounced back on Friday to down Putnam 12-2 and Southridge 15-11. That set up Saturday's losers' bracket quarterfinal game with Jesuit.

The Dawgs, with their 3-2 performance at the tournament, finished the summer with an overall record of 34-7.

'It was a really good summer, overall,' Suburban Door first baseman/pitcher Nick Bland said. 'Most of us made a lot of individual growth.'

'We grew a lot,' catcher Matt Miller added. 'We started the season with a lot of new guys, but we had really good team chemistry.'

In Saturday's game, Jesuit took a 2-0 lead by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning.

Robert Strys singled in Peter Davis for the first run of the contest. Matt Decker scored from third later in the frame as the Dawgs turned a double play.

Suburban Door threatened in the top of the third, as Connor Scott reached first base on an error and Jon Fishback had an infield single. But a pair of pickoffs ended the Dawgs' threat.

Jesuit then tacked on a pair of runs in its half of the third to up its lead to 4-0. Patrick Dempsey had the key hit for the Crusaders in the inning with an RBI single.

The Tualatin team was able to break through and get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning.

Suyematsu hit a double deep down the left-field line to lead off the inning.

He moved to third base on a wild pitch and then scored on a groundout by Andrew Schlottmann to make the score 4-1.

The Dawgs threatened again in the top of the fifth inning, getting a two-out double to right field by Scott, but he was left stranded.

Jesuit then added a run in its half of the frame on a solo home run by Dempsey.

The Dawgs then went down in order in both the sixth and seventh innings, leaving Jesuit with the 5-1 victory.

'They were the better team today,' Miller said.

'It was a disappointing way to end the summer, but it was a good summer,' Suburban Door coach Adam Strachan said. 'This is a great group of guys and I know they'll all put in the time in the offseason to keep getting better.'

Suburban Door had four hits in the contest, one each by Miller, Fishback, Suyematsu and Scott.

Bland pitched a strong game for the Dawgs in last Thursday's game with Clackamas. In seven innings of work, he gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits.

'He dominated,' Strachan said.

Travis Johnson went 2-for-3 at the plate in that game and scored the team's only run. Schlottmann added a double.

Suyematsu and Johnson each scored three runs in the 12-2 victory over Putnam on Friday. Bland went 2-for-4 at the plate.

Johnson threw the first four innings of that game, needing just 34 pitches. Brandon Durdel pitched the final three frames.

In the Dawgs' second game on Friday, they jumped out to a 14-2 lead over Southridge after three innings of play on their way to posting a 15-11 win.

Johnson went 4-for-4 at the plate with a double and three runs scored in that contest. Austin Marsh and Miller each went 2-for-3. Suyematsu went 2-for-5 with a double.

Scott threw the first three innings of the game, giving up one earned run on one hit.

Coming off the tournament, and the successful summer, the Dawgs are already looking forward to the 2012 spring season with the Tualatin High squad.

'I can't wait for next spring,' Miller said. 'We can only go up. We're going to keep on getting better.'

'We need to work on our hitting. We've already got a lot of pitching and defense,' Suyematsu said. 'I think we'll go into next spring ready to compete with the best of them.'