Gaston will have to earn its postseason berth with two wins in the league playoffs
Gaston swept three baseball games from Neah-Kah-Nie last week, but the Greyhounds didn't get any help from their Northwest League mates, meaning the Hounds will likely finish no higher than third in the final league standings.
Gaston eeked out a 3-2 win over Neah-Kah-Nie last Wednesday, then followed it with 11-0 and 13-0 beatdowns of the Pirates in a doubleheader on Friday. The wins were unquestionably nice, but Gaston needed a little help in its quest to catch league-leading Portland Christian, which swept Vernonia last week to remain atop the standings.
'We didn't get the break that we wanted,' said Gaston coach Sean Casey. 'But regardless of what happens this week, we're pretty much locked into the top four, so we'll get a chance to play in the league playoffs.'
Gaston (13-4, 11-4) has three games this week against Faith Bible, followed by a two-game league playoff on May 17 at Pacific University. The league's third- and fourth-place teams will play each other, then the winner will play the second-place finisher for the right to advance to the state playoffs.
'We would have liked to be in a position where we only needed to win one game to advance, but we'll still have an opportunity to play our way into the (state) playoffs,' Casey said.
Last Wednesday, Neah-Kah-Nie gave the Hounds a tougher game than anticipated, taking a 2-2 tie into the fifth inning before Gaston plated the winning run on back-to-back doubles by Kyle Casey and Dusty Brown.
'It was a battle the entire game,' Casey said. 'It was pretty nerve-wracking from a coach's perspective.'
Gaston took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Brown's sacrifice fly, which scored Adam Johnson from third, and Ruger Sanow put the Greyhounds ahead 2-1 in the fourth with an RBI triple to deep center field that scored Josh Davis, who led off the inning with a single.
Levi Watkins got the win for Gaston, striking out 14 batters in seven innings and lowering his season ERA to 2.36.
The Gaston offense exploded on Friday, scoring 24 runs in two games. Casey went 5-for-8 in the doubleheader with a double and three RBIs, and Brown finished 4-for-8 with three RBIs. Jackson Morgan doubled home a run in the opener, and Johnson was 2-for-3 in the nightcap with an RBI.