Wolves roll past Sunset for needed victory

Baseball: Tualatin pounds out 16 hits on its way to posting a 12-5 win over the Apollos
by: DAN BROOD, DOUBLED UP — Tualatin junior second baseman Zach McPherson makes a throw to first base to complete a double play in the Wolves' 12-5 win over Sunset.

TUALATIN - Coming off a disappointing pair of losses in a doubleheader at North Medford last Thursday, the Tualatin High School baseball team knew it needed something.

Well, the Timberwolves got just what they needed.

Tualatin bounced back from the 9-3 and 7-0 losses at North Medford to score a 12-5 win over Sunset in a non-league game played Monday at Tualatin High School.

'We needed that,' Tualatin coach Matt Unis said after the victory. 'We came back from North Medford determined to make some changes. The guys worked hard and made the adjustments. We made ourselves better.'

With the win over the Apollos, Tualatin, which returns most of the players from last year's state semifinal game, improved to 5-3 on the season.

The victory also shows the team that it very well could be heading in the right direction.

'We went down to North Medford and it didn't go very well,' said Tualatin junior catcher John Grill, who went 3-for-4 at the plate in the win with a pair of doubles and three RBI. 'That showed us that last year was gone. We need to focus on this year. We got back and we all worked on our cuts. It showed today - it was a great confidence booster.'

Tualatin pounded out 16 hits in the win over Sunset, with six of those hits being doubles.

'When we were at North Medford, we saw that they had incredible discipline at the plate,' Unis said. 'We brought that back with us.'

Sunset, in Monday's game, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as senior Daniel Manus led off with an infield single and ended up scoring on Kevin Taylor's one-out single to left.

But the Wolves answered back with three runs in their half of the frame.

Junior Cody Gibson got things starting with a leadoff single to right field.

Sophomore Brandon Snyder followed with an infield single. Grill then stepped up and belted a double, with the ball hitting high on the wall in left-center field.

Gibson and Snyder both scored on the hit, giving Tualatin a 2-1 lead.

Junior Zach McPherson followed with a single to right, driving in Grill to make the score 3-1.

Tualatin added on five more runs in the second inning. Junior Brad Alvarez got thing starting in the frame with a one-out double to left.

Singles by junior Brian Symonds and Gibson loaded the bases.

Snyder then lofted a sacrifice fly to left, plating Alvarez to up the margin to 4-1.

Grill then singled in Symonds and McPherson reached on a Sunset error, with both Gibson and Grill scoring on the play to push the lead to 7-1.

Sophomore Mark Lambson then singled in McPherson for another Timberwolf run.

Tualatin added on another run in the third inning when sophomore Conner George led off with an infield single and scored on Alvarez' double off the wall in left-center field.

Sunset scored a run in the top of the fourth inning to make the score 9-2, but the Wolves answered back with three more runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.

George drove in all three run with a double down the left field line. McPherson, who doubled earlier in the inning, Mark Lambson and Mitchell Lambson all scored on the hit to up the lead to 12-2.

Sunset scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to close the gap to 12-5, but the Apollos couldn't get any closer as Tualatin closed out the victory.

'I think today will help a lot of people get out of slumps. I was in a slump,' Grill said. 'We had a lot of guys hit the ball hard.'

Alvarez, Tualatin's designated hitter, went 2-for-2 at the plate with a pair of doubles, a run and an RBI.

George went 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and three RBI. Gibson and McPherson each added a pair of hits.

Snyder started on the mound for Tualatin and gave up two runs in four innings of work. Junior Doug Pas, who entered the game with no outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning, struck out six Sunset batters in three innings of work.

Sunset fell to 5-4 on the season with the setback.

Tualatin, on Tuesday, scored a 6-1 home win over Jesuit behind the pitching of Mitchell Lambson.

The Wolves will be home today (Thursday) to face Westview in a non-league game starting at 4:30 p.m.

Tualatin opens Pacific Conference play on Tuesday when it plays at Canby in a contest starting at 5 p.m.