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Beavers stay hot, move into third place

The Beavers sweep Aloha, win four in a row and edge ahead of Jesuit
by: Miles Vance MUD SLIDE – Beaverton's Myles Richard slides in with a stolen base ahead of the tag by Aloha's Spencer Maxey during the Beavers and Warriors' rain-delayed contest at Beaverton High School on Saturday.

BEAVERTON - The road has been - to say the least - not been a smooth one for the Beaverton baseball team in 2011.

The Beavers, one of the league favorites, have been involved in four series sweeps this year, two that they won and two that they lost.

They finished off one of their winning sweeps on Monday when they beat Aloha 3-1 in a game that had twice been delayed by rain, then added a 17-7 win over Jesuit on Tuesday. Those results gave the Beavers four wins in a row and improved to 7-6 in league (14-8 overall) and take a one-game lead over the Crusaders for third place in the Metro League.

"It's definitely big," said Beaverton coach Derek Nekoba. "Every week is big in this league, but beating Aloha and especially getting that first win over Jesuit were huge."

The Warriors, meanwhile, also dropped an 8-0 decision to Sunset on Tuesday in their series opener, and fell to 0-13 in league (0-22 overall). And Monday's loss to Beaverton was made even more difficult for the Warriors because they led the Beavers 3-2 on Saturday and were just three outs away from their first win of the season.

In Monday's game, Beaverton center fielder Alex Cornwell greeted Aloha freshman starter Richard Belog with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the first, and the Beavers weren't done either.

Mitch Allen followed with a single and took second on a wild pitch, Myles Richard was hit by a pitch with two outs, and both runners came home to make it 3-0 when Aloha made an error on Nate Henderson's fly ball to left field.

Belog settled down after that, though, and held the Beavers scoreless the rest of the way - "It was frustrating after that," Nekoba admitted.

But Beaverton got an even better outing from senior starter Jeremy Lipps. Lipps threw all seven innings for the Beavers, limiting Aloha to one run on three hits and two walks while striking out four.

Aloha broke through for its lone run in the top of the seventh, getting a walk by Francis Beacraft, a single by Lowden Sonnen, a sacrifice bunt by Belog, and an RBI single by Caylen Clardy.

But Lipps made sure the Aloha rally ended then and there, and the Beavers escaped with the 3-1 victory.

Allen led Beaverton by going 3-for-3 at the plate in the win.

In upcoming games, Jesuit plays at Beaverton at 5 p.m. today (Thursday), and the Beavers play at Jesuit at 5 p.m. Friday, while Aloha is at Sunset at 5 p.m. today and hosts the Apollos at 5 p.m. Friday.