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Making a run


Century wins first two games in Glencoe's spring break tournament before falling to Redmond in championship

In their fourth appearance last week in the Glencoe Spring Break Tournament, the Jaguars went further than ever before.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Century's Nick Lo Bue pitched five innings in a 7-0 loss to Redmond in the Glencoe Spring Break Tournament last week at Hillsboro Stadium.

“We were pleased to get there,” Century coach Kyle Bunting said about his team advancing to the championship game. “We were disappointed we didn’t win it, but we know that we’re still on a mission to be at our peak … whenever the state playoffs start.”

In the eight-team tournament, which was staged at Hillsboro Stadium, Century won its first two games, a 6-3 victory against Silverton and a 2-1 thriller against reigning state champion Oregon City, before dropping the championship game to Redmond, 7-0.

In that game against the Panthers on March 27, his squad played well and did not record any errors, Bunting said, but it ran into an outstanding pitcher who threw a one-hitter. Brad Bennett got the Jaguars’ sole hit, and Nick Lo Bue gave up 10 hits while walking one and striking out two.

But Century did have to win two games to get to that point. Against the Foxes two days earlier, the team was not focused like Bunting said he would have preferred, but it did put up single runs in the first and second innings before adding three more in the fourth for a comfortable 5-0 lead.

Josh Packard broke through for two of the team’s seven hits, and Brad Bennett pitched six of seven innings for the Jaguars, giving up eight hits and two earned runs while walking three and striking out seven.

For the next day’s game, as if playing the 2012 state champions were not meaningful enough, Bunting happens to be a 1997 Oregon City graduate and played baseball for current Pioneers coach Greg Lord. In a game that included just eight hits total — four for each side — Century spotted Oregon City a run in the bottom of the first before scoring twice late in the game for the comeback win.

“We told the kids that it didn’t matter if they were the state champs or they were a team that won one game the previous year, that we need to take the same approach that we have every day,” Bunting said. “And if we pitch well and play good defense and minimize our mistakes and get some timely hits, it will be a game people will talk about for a while, and it ended up being that.”

After Kyle Gilligan gave up a single to the Pioneers’ No. 2 batter in the bottom of the first, Oregon City scored its sole run on an RBI triple. But in pitching a complete game, Gilligan gave up just two infield singles the rest of the way, and Century got just enough offense to carve out a victory.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Jaguars had runners on first and second with two outs when Vance Hamilton got caught in a rundown. During the rundown, Sam Bates moved from second to third and then scored when one of the Pioneers threw across Hamilton and the player covering first base lost sight of the ball, which bounced off his glove for an error. In the next inning, Packard hit an RBI double to the fence in right field to drive in Chaz Stobbs for the winning run.

In addition to giving up the four hits, Gilligan walked one and struck out five.

“It was a complete team effort where defensively we were what we expect from them every night, and it was a really good high school baseball game,” Bunting noted.

The day following the loss to Redmond, the Jaguars dropped an 11-3 decision to The Dalles Wahtonka on the round to round out their non-conference schedule, and they fell 8-4 to Tualatin at home on Tuesday to open their Pacific Conference slate. Century entered its scheduled Wednesday game at Tualatin (after press deadline) with a 4-6 record. The team is slated to play at Glencoe today at 5 p.m.

As league play begins, Bunting would like to see a little more consistency out of his squad.

“That will come as we get into games 13, 14, and 15 on the year,” he said.

But Bunting also praised the play of catcher Marcos Hernandez, whom he called “a rock behind the plate” and said that Packard has been “a great, great surprise for us in right field.” He said he expects Gilligan to pose problems for opponents on the mound and that Lo Bue has done well in his first varsity season as a junior and the team’s No. 3 pitcher.

“He’s going to give us a chance to be in games because he can throw a lot of strikes,” Bunting said. “He can throw any pitch for a strike at any given time.”

Century is scheduled to wrap up its two game series with Glencoe by hosting the Tide on Monday, followed by Wednesday and Thursday games against Hillsboro at Hillsboro Stadium and Hare Field, respectively.