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Cats pitching fuels two more playoff wins

Westview shuts out Sheldon and Lake Oswego in back-to-back 6A playoff match-ups
by: Miles Vance STILL ROLLING — Westview senior Donnie Bradley scores in the first inning of his team’s 3-0 win over Sheldon last week at Jesuit High School.

Westview wasn't going to let anything get in its way.

First, the Wildcat baseball team shoved Lakeridge out of the way in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs. Next, Westview edged Sheldon 3-0 on May 26 at Jesuit. And then, the Wildcats battled past Lake Oswego 4-0 in the state quarterfinals on Friday at Westview High School.

Westview 4, Lake Oswego 0

ROCK CREEK - The Wildcats knew.

Hosting Three Rivers League champion Lake Oswego on Friday, the Wildcats and Lakers were locked in a scoreless battle for the game's first 5-1/2 innings, but Westview's players remained confident they'd break through.

And break through they did, putting together a four-run sixth inning to back up senior pitcher Phil Belding's three-hitter. The win lifted Metro League co-champion Westview's record to 25-5 and sent them on to face Jesuit in Tuesday's state semifinal (for more on that game, see the story on Page A10). The Lakers, meanwhile, ended their year at 22-7.

'We know they like to attack the ball so we just had to develop a plan and stick with it,' said Westview junior shortstop Carson Kelly, who went 1-for-2 at the plate and scored once.

Fortunately, Belding's strong outing gave the Wildcat offense plenty of time to find itself. Belding, Westview's No. 3 starter, shut out the Lakers for six innings, scattering three hits and walking none while striking out four batters.

'They're a good-hitting team and a good team all around so we (knew we'd) have to be ready,' Belding said.

'Phil did a great job for us,' added Westview coach Steve Antich. 'After getting out of a bases loaded one-out jam ... in the first, he cruised the rest of the way. Because Phil was so strong, LO never really could gain any positive momentum.'

LO starter Brock Pellow was equal to the task for quite a while too, shutting down the Cats' vaunted offense until that fateful sixth, allowing just six hits and three walks while striking out three in his six innings of work.

But in that sixth inning, Belding got on base on an error, Kelly singled, Sam Johnson knocked in the game's first run with a hit, sophomore third baseman Kyle Henderson singled home two more with his lone hit down the third base line, and Tate Glasgow brought home his team's final run with his second hit of the game.

Glasgow was the only Westview player with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 and driving in one run, and also throwing out a Laker runner at the plate in the first.

Westview 3, Sheldon 0

BEAVERTON - The Westview offense showed up right away in the second-round win over Sheldon, pushing across three runs in the bottom of the first against the Irish.

And then the Wildcats' bats went away.

Fortunately for Westview, Kelly didn't go anywhere. The Wildcats' starting pitcher baffled Sheldon throughout the game, shutting out the Irish on five hits, two walks and one hit batter while using his devastating changeup to notch 13 strikeouts.

'I threw the fastball early and then worked off the changeup because that's my dominant pitch,' Kelly said. 'I knew right away that it was 'on' today, so I just got on that and stuck with it.'

'I had a lot of confidence in Carson to shut them down, and in our team to back him up so I didn't really have any worries,' added senior designated hitter Ryan Susnow, who hit a solo homer in the first inning and went 2-for-3 at the plate.

In that first inning, Donnie Bradley led off with an opposite-field double to left, then scored when Belding singled to center to make it 1-0. Belding took second on a Sheldon throw to home, moved to third when Kelly grounded out, then scored on Johnson's grounder to short.

Susnow then stepped up and hit an opposite-field homer to right field for what turned out to be the final 3-0 margin.

Sheldon starter Brett Nielsen settled down after the first, though, and shut the Cats down the rest of the way, giving up just four hits and one walk while striking out four in Westview's remaining five at-bats.

'He was mainly throwing fastballs and curveballs that would drop into the dirt,' Susnow said of Nielsen. 'We were fishing for them sometimes, and we need to just sit back and let those go.'

'We got out to a good start and we wanted to keep going, but we've kind of done that the whole year and it's kind of hurt us some games,' said Belding, who went 3-for-3, scored once and knocked in one. 'We need to work on that.'