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Barlow 'weak mentally' in season-ending loss

Sixth inning home run sinks Royals in OIBA tourney


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: MILES VANCE - Barlow shortsop Ryan Riepma stretches for a throw as Jesuits Buddy Webb steals se ond base during the Royals 4-1 loss on Tuesday in the first round of the OIBA State Tournament at Hare Field.HILLSBORO — Barlow needed little time to assess the reasons for its 3-2 loss to Westview in Wednesday's elimination game of the Oregon Independent Baseball Association tournament at Hare Field.

“We have a lot of physical skills,” Barlow assistant coach Mark Garland said. “We're just very weak mentally. We've got to get better.”

Barlow starting pitcher Evan Jones went the distance and even took a no-hitter into the fifth. But it still wasn't enough.

Mistakes proved fatal for the Royals.

There was a Westview runner who reached base on an error and eventually scored, to take a 1-0 fifth inning lead. But the back-breaker came in the sixth, when the Royals recorded only one out on a tailor-maid double play opportunity after the shortstop's throw short-hopped first base.

Jones struck out the next batter, which would have been the third out of the inning. Instead, up came Connor Zwetsch, who homered to left field, putting Westview ahead 3-2.

In the top of the seventh, a double put a Royals runner in scoring position, but Westview starter Teagan Lind worked out of the jam to end the game.

According to Barlow, those mistakes indicative of an underlying issue.

“Those aren't even physical errors,” Garland said. “They're mental. Those are plays we make in our sleep.

“Is (Westview) better than us? I don't think so. We had a lot of improvements over the summer. We just have to make the small adjustments. We've got to get better mentally. Physically we're fine. We've got more talent than most teams out here. We've just got to finish.”

Offensively, Barlow couldn't rattle Lind. Not even a comebacker to the neck threw him off his game.

Westview's right-hander needed to throw a gem to keep up with his counterpart, Jones. Neither pitcher surrendered a run until the fifth inning, and Lind didn't allow a runner to reach second until the sixth.

As the game progressed, it was clear both teams were going to ride their starters to the finish line. But when Lind was struck in the neck by a line drive and writhed beside the mound in pain, his day seemed done.

“I had all intentions, the minute he got hit, of having to take him out of the game and having to get someone loose,” Westview coach Steve Antich said. “I couldn't believe he felt as well as he did when I got out there. He seemed unaffected by it. We had worries that he'd be a little hesitant, but it didn't seem to bother him at all.”

He remained in the game, determined to finish what he started.

Lind returned in the sixth, this time with a 1-0 lead, but he was met with active Barlow bats.

After an error and a single put runners on first and second, Jones helped his own cause by ripping a ball to deep left field, which bounced off the fielder's glove, plating two runs and giving the Royals a 2-1 edge.

Lind, though, struck out the next batter on a curve ball to end the threat and shut the door in the seventh.

After a disappointing end to the state tournament, Barlow met for a lengthy discussion. The coaches were blunt.

“This is one we should have had today,” Garland said.



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