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Beavers ready for Metro race

BASEBALL: Beaverton is 6-1 so far and ready to make up for a disappointing 2006
by: MILES VANCE, SENIOR SWINGER – Beaverton senior Austin Potter went 2-for-3 and scored once to help the Beavers beat Barlow 7-1 on Monday at Beaverton High School.

BEAVERTON - So far, the Beaverton baseball team has done a very good job of putting the 2006 season in the rearview mirror.

The Beavers, picked as a playoff favorite a year ago, instead finished fifth in league play and missed the Class 4A state playoffs. Now, though they have yet to play a 2007 Metro League game, the Beavers are 6-1 and feeling very much like a contender. They took out Barlow (a team coached by former Beaverton and Jesuit head coach Craig Webster) 7-1 at Beaverton High School on Monday in their most recent non-league contest.

'From hitting, defense and pitching, it's going pretty well right now,' said senior pitcher Ryan Larson, who held Barlow to one run on two hits and two walks while striking out 10 in five innings. 'I think we could easily finish top two in the Metro. Last year was a disappointment, but this year, hopefully, we'll build off our wins and roll into the Metro.'

'I think we should do pretty well,' added senior shortstop/pitcher Austin Potter, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, scored one run and threw two innings of hitless relief against the Bruins. 'There's some tough teams out there, but we should do all right.'

The Beavers broke out in front in the bottom of the first inning against Barlow (4-3), with Calvin Nagy reaching base when he was hit by a Nick Flood pitch and scoring on a two-out single to left by Marcus Himelhoch.

Beaverton made it 2-0 in the third when Potter worked Flood for a leadoff walk, stole second, took third on an out and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Himelhoch. The Bruins cut the gap to 2-1 in the top of the fourth when Tyler Harding launched a one-out solo homer to center field, but Barlow got absolutely nothing else accomplished against Larson and Potter.

Larson struck out two in the first, one in the second, three in the third, two more in the fourth and two in the fifth before giving way to Potter, using his excellent control and dangerous curveball to great effect.

'I felt like I had my stuff today and I felt like I pitched pretty well,' Larson said. 'We had a great defense behind us and that really helped.'

'He's been doing that just about every time out,' Beaverton coach Corey Rooper said. 'He's got three pitches he can throw for a strike. He's a good pitcher.'

The Beavers made it 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Jordan Severson reached base on an error, took third on two outs and scored on a wild pitch. Beaverton then put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth when Severson and Tyler Parsons singled, Nagy forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk, two more came home on a Barlow throwing error and the final run came home on a wild pitch.

'I thought we battled, wore 'em down and got it going,' Rooper said. 'If we can have that approach at the plate every game, we're going to be successful.'

'We came out and swung the bats well and Ryan Larson did a really good job of pitching,' Potter added. 'We always have a chance to win when he's pitching.'

For the game, Potter had two hits, Matt Noyer went 2-for-4 and Severson 2-for-3 with one run scored to pace the Beavers' eight-hit attack. Barlow managed just two hits, Harding's homer and Derric Hough's leadoff single in the fifth, and also committed four errors to Beaverton's none.