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Hawks are flying high with determination, confidence

Baseball: Horizon Christian, despite a league loss on Monday, eyes a playoff berth
by: DAN BROOD, TAGGED OUT — Horizon Christian senior first baseman Zach Bemrose (5) tags out Westside Christian’s Josh Britton in a rundown in Monday’s game.

WILSONVILLE - The Horizon Christian High School baseball team seems to have a few things going for it.

Such as persistence, determination and confidence. And a loss to powerful Westside Christian certainly isn't going to take those things away from the Hawks.

Horizon Christian rallied back from an early 4-0 deficit, but the Hawks couldn't rally a second time as they fell 10-4 to Westside Christian in a West Valley League game played Monday at Wilsonville Memorial Park.

'These guys won't give up,' Horizon Christian coach Alex Esquerra said after the game. 'Even if they're behind, they'll keep fighting.'

With the victory, league-leading Westside Christian improved to 5-0 in West Valley League play. Horizon Christian moved to 3-3 in league play, and to 4-5 overall, with the setback. Still, the Hawks have their sights set on one of the league's four Class 3A state playoff berths.

'I think we can do it,' Horizon Christian senior shortstop Lee Gilgan said. 'We're better than we thought we'd be. We've got good senior leadership, we're having a lot of fun and we're all here for the same reason.'

'I think we're one of the top four teams in the league,' Esquerra said. 'But we don't want to settle for just that. We think we can play with the top teams.'

In Monday's game, Horizon Christian found itself facing a 4-0 deficit when it came to bat in the bottom of the second inning. But that's where the Hawks bounced back in a big way.

Jeff Piersma was hit by a pitch to start the frame for Horizon Christian. Chris Randall then reached on an error and James McMonagle drew a walk to load the bases.

One out later, Josh Crawford singled in Piersma and Randall to cut the Westside Christian lead to 4-2. MacGonigle then scored on a sacrifice bunt by Gilgan, trimming the margin to one. Brett Harris then singled in Crawford to tie the game.

However, Westside Christian pushed a run across the plate with two out in the top of the third inning to regain the lead at 5-4.

The Hawks had their chances to tie the game, or take the lead. In the bottom of the fourth, Gilgan walked and Tyson Nakasone singled with two outs in the inning. The next Horizon Christian batter, Zach Bemrose, hit a fly ball to deep center field, but Westside Christian center fielder Wade Moyer ran down the big hit to keep the Hawks from scoring.

Horizon Christian also left runners on base in both the third and fifth innings.

The Eagles, meanwhile, were able to add onto their lead in the top of the sixth inning. Brandon Bray and Moyer led off the frame with back-to-back bunt singles and they were both able to score later in the inning on RBI singles, giving Westside Christian a 7-4 advantage.

Westside Christian scored three more runs in the top of the seventh to up its lead to 10-4.

Piersma singled for Horizon Christian in the bottom of the seventh, but he was left stranded as the Eagles wrapped up their 10-4 victory.

'They're a very good team,' Gilgan said. 'But we hit some good pitching and did what we had to do to create some runs. It's going to be fun to play them again.'

Horizon Christian was scheduled to host Sheridan in a league contest on Wednesday. Results of that game weren't available when the Times went to press.

The Hawks will be back in action Friday when they host Valley Catholic in a league contest starting at 3:30 p.m. at Wilsonville Memorial Park. That game marks the start of the second half of league play. Valley Catholic bested Horizon Christian 2-1 in a league opener, with the Valiants getting the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.