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Lions challenging for league title

St. Helens wins two of three from Glencoe
by: John Brewington, St. Helens’ Julian Zirkle is safe at home during game with Glencoe on Thursday. The Lions lost their first game with the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide, but came back to win the next two games and the series.

The St. Helens Lions bounced back from an opening series game loss to No. 2-ranked Glencoe last week to give themselves a shot at winning the Northwest Oregon Conference crown.

The Lions, No. 7 in the coaches' poll, fell to Glencoe 8-2 on Tuesday last week, then came back to beat them 4-1, and 16-5. The two teams are now tied at 14-4 in league play with St. Helens holding the tiebreaker.

St. Helens is now just a game behind league-leading No. 5-ranked Sherwood in the conference and control their own playoff destiny.

'We have the ability to catch Sherwood this week by winning two of three,' St. Helens coach Tim Prosser said. 'We can win the title outright with a sweep.'

The two clubs meet three times this week-Tuesday at PGE Park, Thursday in Sherwood, and Friday at home. St. Helens could win the league crown straight out by winning all three games. St. Helens could also win a co-title and the No. 1 seed to state with two wins, unless Glencoe sweeps Century.

The Lions didn't appear to be a team with title aspirations after they lost the opener to Glencoe, 8-2, but they bounced back to control the next two games.

'It was a big week of baseball for our program. We showed huge character by coming back after losing Game 1 and winning the series versus Glencoe,' Prosser added.

St. Helens fell behind Glencoe by three in the first inning, and was down 4-0 going into the bottom of the second. The Lions scored their only two runs in that frame. St. Helens gave up 10 hits to Glencoe, and committed two errors in the contest. The Lions had six hits in the contest. Steven Halligan had two of them, including a double.

With Christopher Mood throwing a no-hitter into the seventh inning, the Lions started finding their bats in the second game with Glencoe. St. Helens put their first run over in the first inning, and then added a second in the fourth. Two runs in the fifth pretty much clinched the contest for them.

Jared Chase and Julian Zirkle both went two for three at the plate, both with doubles. Brad Welter was two for four.

The Lions flat blew Glencoe out in their third meeting of the year. St. Helens pushed over three runs in the first and five in the second. The Lions ostensibly ended the contest in the sixth inning with six runs and added two more in the seventh just for good measure. The team blasted out 17 hits in the game.

'It was an incredible display of intensity in the dugout, at the plate, and on the field,' Prosser said. 'Matt Lokken took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.'

And the Lions were just plinking singles. Jared Chase went three for three at the plate with two homers, a double, and three RBIs in the contest. Lokken added a homer, went two for five, and also had three RBIs. Not to be outdone, Halligan went three for five, with a home run and four RBIs. Julian Zirkle was three for four, Nolan Booth two for four, and Taylor Webster two for three.

The Lions are assured a spot in the playoffs, and will determine this week whether that will be as the No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 seed. Winning three with Sherwood gives them No. 1 all alone and the league title. Winning two could leave them in first or second, depending on the outcome of the Glencoe-Century series. Losing all three would drop them into third and give the title to Sherwood.

Scores by innings:

Glencoe 8, St. Helens 2

Glencoe 310 021 1-8 10 1

St. Helens 020 000 0-2 6 2

Taylor Webster, Brennan Burright (7) and Alex Anderson; A.J. Burke and Landry See.

St. Helens 4, Glencoe 1

St. Helens 100 120 0-4 10 1

Glencoe 000 000 1-1 2 0

Christopher Mood and Alex Anderson; Tyler Heck and Landry See.

St. Helens 16, Glencoe 5

Glencoe 000 004 1-5 6 0

St. Helens 350 006 2-16 17 2

Matt Lokken and Alex Anderson; Dustin Johnson, Matt Valley (3), Derek Bond (6) and Landry See.

Northwest Oregon

Conference

Baseball Standings

(Through May 2)

W L

Sherwood 15 3

St. Helens 14 4

Glencoe 14 4

Century 9 9

Liberty 7 11

Wilsonville 6 12

Hillsboro 5 13

Parkrose 2 16

5A State Rankings

Coaches Poll

Pts. W-L

1) Thurston 50 20-2

2) Glencoe 40 14-8

3) Corvallis 39 19-4

4) Ashland 33 19-2

5) Sherwood 29 18-4

6) Bend 27 14-5

7) St. Helens 13 18-7

8) Pendleton 12 17-6

9) Dallas 11 14-9

North Eugene 11 11-11

West Albany 7 (15-8); Crater 2 (14-8); Cleveland 1 (10-8)