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Hawks rally to earn a spot in the title tilt

Baseball: Horizon Christian will face Bandon Friday in the Class 3A state finals

VALE - There just seems to be no quit in the Horizon Christian baseball team.

And persistence sure seems to be paying off for the Hawks.

Horizon Christian, on Tuesday, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to score a 4-3 win over Vale in a Class 3A state playoff semifinal game played at Vale High School. With the win, the Hawks earned their first-ever trip to the Class 3A state championship game.

Horizon Christian will face Bandon Friday at 5 p.m. at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer in the state title contest.

'We're excited to be able to play for the championship and know we are facing a tough opponent in Bandon,' Horizon Christian coach Alex Esquerra said. 'All the teams have been tough to this point in the playoffs. The momentum builds and the fundamentals become more important against these good teams. It will be a great game to be at.'

Bandon, the Sunset League champion, brings an overall record of 23-3 into Friday's championship game. The Tigers scored a 2-1 home win over Pleasant Hill Tuesday in the other state semifinal.

Horizon Christian, the West Valley League champion, is 26-3 on the season with the win over Vale, marking the 24th straight victory for the Hawks.

In Tuesday's game, Horizon Christian faced a Viking team that held the top spot in the OSAA power rankings.

The Hawks also faced an early deficit as Vale scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. Junior Braden Holloway had the big hit of the frame for the Vikings with a two-run single.

Horizon Christian was still facing the 3-0 deficit going into the top of the sixth inning, but that's where the Hawks came storming back.

With one out in the frame, Horizon Christian junior Josh Holmes was hit by a pitch. Senior Ryan Guay followed with a single. One out later, freshman Kyle Esquerra singled, driving in Holmes to cut the lead to 3-1.

Hawk senior Shane Monahan was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases with two outs. Sophomore Willie Brucker then singled in both Guay and Esquerra, tying the game at 3-3.

Horizon Christian didn't stop there. Senior Spencer Vroman came up with another clutch single for the Hawks, driving in Monahan to give Horizon Christian a 4-3 lead.

The Hawks took their 4-3 lead to the bottom of the seventh inning.

Vale put runners on first and second with two outs. The next Viking batter, Holloway, hit a shot toward the gap in right-center field. But Horizon Christian senior center fielder Trevor Guay, sprinting away from the plate, made a diving catch in deep center field to end the game and wrap up the victory for the Hawks.

Sophomore Zach Selland was the winning pitcher.