Rangers end season with loss to No. 10 LaSalle
Series of close losses keep Estacada out of the playoff chase
CLACKAMAS The 2013 campaign came to an end for the Estacada baseball team as it stumbled at La Salle, 6-4, on Friday, despite leading halfway through the game. The Rangers fell to No. 10 La Salle in all three games of the season series by just two runs.
For the most part, we played very well. I like the way we set the tone, Estacada coach Ryan Carpenter said. We put some pressure on a very good baseball team who I envision going deep into the playoffs.
Estacada took the early lead in the third inning when catcher Bryce Babikoff scored from second on a single up the middle by senior Devin Foust, who was playing in the last game of his high school career. That timely hit was the only one the Rangers would get in the inning as they stranded two runners.
Estacada padded its lead with a productive fourth inning, which was sparked by Chris Smith. Smith fought off a pitch in on his hands and beat out a slow ground ball for an infield single to lead off the inning. Jarek Franklin then moved Smith to second with a sacrifice bunt on a two-strike pitch. Kyle Beguelin followed with a walk. He and Smith moved up on a wild pitch to give the Rangers runners on second and third with one out.
Another senior, James Smith, came through with a big hit to left to bring in his Chris Smith. Beguelin also tried to score, but was gunned down at the plate on a perfectly executed relay by La Salle. James Smith did take second base on the throw and later scored on a bloop single down the right field line by Babikoff.
The Rangers three-run advantage vanished in the bottom of the fourth when the Falcons bats woke up. Sam Eichhorn got La Salle going when he led off with a high fly ball to right field. It initially looked fairly routine, but carried over the fence for a home run. The Falcons would score three more runs, but it could have been worse the Rangers. Estacada outfielders tracked down two straight line drives headed for the gaps to end the inning.
La Salle added two runs in the fifth inning and took a 6-3 lead into the seventh. Estacada third baseman Brandon Beck tried to help the team creep back into the game when he delivered an RBI-double with one out, but the next two batters were retired and the Rangers hopes were doused.
This has been the story of our year, Carpenter said. We play well. We play good enough to be in ball games, but we are just a big play or hit short of being on the victorious side.
Estacada finished the season with a record of 6-16. Half of its losses came by three runs or less. Carpenter thinks they have the pieces in place to win more of those tight games next season.
We have a talented group coming back, and we have a tough summer ball schedule, Carpenter said. I think the younger guys will mature and will be able to take the next step.