Tigers win in season opener

Tigard swings some hot bats as it scores a 12-10 victory over Oregon City
by: DAN BROOD SWEET SWING – Senior Kyler Garcia tripled, just barely missing a home run, in Tigard’s 12-10 win over Oregon City.

TIGARD - It wasn't pretty.

It wasn't a textbook performance.

But it was a win.

And the Tigard High School baseball team was happy with it.

The Tigers, playing their first complete game of the season, battled their way to a 12-10 win over Oregon City in six innings in a Tigard Spring Break Tournament game played Saturday at Tigard High.

'It was good to get going with a win,' said Tigard senior Eric Najdek, who had a pair of hits and a pair of RBI in the victory. 'We're hitting the ball a lot better this year, but we still have a lot of things to work on. We have to work on our defense.'

Oregon City moved to 0-2 on the season at that point with the setback. Tigard, meanwhile, got its season off to a winning start.

'We got a win,' Tigard coach Tom Campbell said. 'At this point, that's important. Our pitching is a big question mark and we were awful on defense today, but we've been swinging the bats well. We had some good outs and good base hits.

Tigard had nine base hits, to be exact, in the six-inning contest.

And Tigard, the designated visiting team in Saturday's game, started the offensive fireworks right away, putting a pair of runs on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning.

Senior Spencer Smith and junior Hikaru Mizuno got things started with back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. After a fielder's choice grounder by senior Trevor Nix, Najdek was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out.

Mizuno then scored on a fielder's choice grounder by senior Kyler Garcia to give Tigard a 1-0 lead. Nix then scored from third a wild pitch to up the margin to 2-0.

Oregon City came back to score a pair of runs in its half of the inning to tie the game at 2-2. Mark Morris had the big hit of the inning for the Pioneers with a ground-rule double to left field.

Tigard quickly regained the lead, in a big way, with a five-run second inning.

Junior Brody Parsons got the big inning started with a one-out single to left field. He moved to second on a balk and then scored on a single to center by senior Eric Sieg, giving Tigard a 3-2 lead.

One out later, Mizuno doubled down the left-field line, plating Sieg to make the score 4-2. Nix then reached on an error, with Mizuno moving to third on the play. Mizuno then scored on a wild pitch coming on ball four to Najdek, upping the margin to 5-2.

Nix and Najdek then both scored when Garcia tripled high off the fence in right-center field, giving the Tigers their 7-2 advantage.

Oregon City, with Brad Martin hitting a leadoff triple, scored twice in the bottom of the second to make the score 7-4.

But, after a scoreless third inning, Tigard struck again, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Smith reached on a fielding error to start the inning. He ended up scoring from third on a wild pitch. Mizuno, who walked, scored on a one-out single by Najdek to give Tigard a 9-4 lead.

Oregon City got a run in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth to make the score 9-7 going into the sixth inning.

Mizuno reached on an error to lead off the top of the sixth. He then moved to second on a wild pitch. After Nix was intentionally walked, Najdek hit a ground-rule double to right field, driving in Mizuno to give Tigard a 10-7 lead.

Nix then scored on a grounder by Garcia and senior Drew Morris drove in Najdek with a single to left to up the margin to 12-7.

Oregon City tried to rally one last time in the bottom of the sixth. The Pioneers got an unearned run and then two more on ground-rule double by Mark Morris to make the score 12-10 with two outs in the frame.

But Tigard junior relief pitcher Kyler Heaston coaxed a game-ending grounder back to the mound to wrap up the 12-10 victory.

Najdek helped lead the Tigers to the win, going 2-for-2 at the plate with a double, two RBI, a run scored and a pair of walks.

'I'm just sitting back and driving the ball,' he said. 'Hopefully, this will be a big senior year.'

Mizuno went 2-for-3 at the plate with four runs scored, a double, an RBI and a stolen base. Parsons went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Smith, Morris and Sieg each had a hit for the Tigers.

Smith, junior Chris Mackenzie and Heaston all pitched for Tigard in the victory.

Oregon City had 11 hits in the game and Tigard committed five errors in the contest.

The Tigers rolled off three more Spring Break Tournament wins following the opening victory over Oregon City.

On Sunday, Tigard bested Central Catholic 11-9. Tigard downed Liberty 8-5 on Monday and then blasted Grant 16-1 on Tuesday. The Tigers will be back in action Tuesday when they play at Century at 5 p.m. in a Pacific Conference opener.