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Dawgs heat up for the playoffs

The Tualatin OIBA squad will face Lakeridge in a best-of-three series
by: DAN BROOD BRING THE HEAT — Suburban Door’s Nick Bland fires in a pitch during Monday’s game with Taylor Electric. Bland pitched the Dawgs to a 4-0 victory.

MILWAUKIE - It hasn't been the warmest of summers.

But there's been no cooling off the Tualatin-based Suburban Door OIBA baseball team.

The Dawgs have been red-hot and rolling as postseason play nears. That has them looking forward to the upcoming playoffs, although, they insist they're not taking anything for granted.

'We feel like we can beat anyone,' Tualatin's Nick Bland said after pitching the Dawgs to a 4-0 win over Putnam's Taylor Electric team in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday. 'But we also know that anyone can beat us. We know we have to play well.'

Suburban Door, which improved to 28-5 on the summer season with the opening-game win over Putnam, enters postseason play as the No. 1 team out of the Murphy Division. The Dawgs will start the postseason by facing Lakeridge in a best-of-three series to be held Friday and Saturday.

The first game of the series will be played Friday, starting at 6 p.m., at Lakeridge High School. The second game will be played Saturday at 11 a.m. at Tualatin High School with a third game to follow at Tualatin if needed.

Suburban Door, no matter if it wins or loses the series with Lakeridge, will advance to play in the 16-team, double-elimination season-ending tournament that will be held Wednesday through July 31 at Sunset and Lakeridge high schools.

If the Dawgs win the best-of-three series with Lakeridge, they will open tournament play Wednesday with a first-round game starting at 12:45 p.m. at Lakeridge High School. If the Tualatin team loses the best-of-three series with Lakeridge, it will open tourney play Wednesday with a first-round game starting at 3:30 p.m. at Lakeridge High School.

No matter when it opens tournament play, Suburban Door is taking some high hopes to the event.

'We think we can win it all,' Bland said. 'We need to have good pitching and defense and some timely hitting. We want to get some momentum going and then keep rolling.'

Bland did his part in getting the Dawgs some momentum with his pitching performance in the victory over Taylor Electric in the game played at Alder Creek Middle School.

Bland, a right-hander, turned in a complete-game shutout performance, giving up just three hits while striking out nine and walking none. He faced just 24 batters in the contest.

'Nick was dominating,' Tualatin coach Adam Strachan said.

'It went really well,' Bland said. 'I felt a little off when I last pitched in Bend, so I wanted to come out with some fire.'

Austin Marsh helped lead the offensive attack in the win, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBI. Travis Johnson went 2-for-2. He also was hit by a pitch, drew a walk and stole a pair of bases. Jon Fishback also singled in a run for the Dawgs.

Prior Tuesday's twinbill against Taylor Electric, the Dawgs swept a league doubleheader with Aloha in games played Monday at Aloha High.

Suburban Door won the first game 9-3. Nathan Suyematsu went 2-for-2 at the plate in the win with a pair of doubles. He also pitched five strong innings, giving up one hit and striking out four. Marsh went 2-for-2 with a double and Matt Miller drove in three runs.

The Dawgs then rolled to a 19-2 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.

Fishback went 2-for-2 with a triple and a pair of walks. Jared Sablan went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Sablan and Austin Hunsdon combined to pitch Dawgs to the victory.

On Saturday, the Tualatin team swept Mt. View in a doubleheader played in Bend.

The Dawgs won the first game 4-3. Connor Scott, coming back from a broken finger he suffered earlier in the year, picked up the pitching win, striking out seven and walking one in a complete-game performance. Miller had the big hit of the game, with a two-run home run in the sixth inning, giving Suburban Door a 3-1 lead at that time.

The Dawgs won the second game 13-1. Fishback walked three times and scored three runs. Bland went 2-for-3 at the plate and Andrew Schlottmann went 2-for-4 with a double. Schlottmann also was the winning pitcher.

On Friday, Suburban Door split a doubleheader with Bend in games played over in Bend.

The Dawgs won the first game 19-2 with Travis Johnson and Hunsdon combining for a strong performance on the mound. Schlottmann, Gunnar Gustafson and Marsh each went 2-for-2 at the plate. Cooper Brunner tripled and drove in three runs.

Bend won the second game 9-8. Jake Gallows went 2-for-3 at the plate in that contest. Schlottmann stole three bases.