The Lake Oswego baseball team wasn't perfect on Monday.
Hosting Tualatin in Oregon Independent Baseball Association action at LOHS, Lake Oswego gave up too many walks, failed to take extra bases on at least a couple occasions and probably lost a little focus late in the contest.
But c'mon — those were minor quibbles. Lake Oswego banged out 14 hits against three Tualatin pitchers, got a strong start from its own pitcher, Alex Giroux, made several outstanding defensive plays and rolled to an 8-0 win.
"We've been playing pretty well," said Giroux, who threw five innings and allowed no runs on three hits with four walks and one hit batter while striking out two. "I haven't been here the whole time, but when I've been here, I don't think we've lost many games."
The team's success so far has its players convinced that big things lie ahead in the OIBA state tournament, set for the end of the month at Wilsonville High School.
"We definitely are looking forward to that. I think we can do really well with everyone coming back for the tournament," said Lake Oswego center fielder Matt Sebolsky, who went 2 for 4 at the plate, drove in two runs and scored twice. "Some of us haven't been able to play (OIBA) this summer because we're doing club ball and all that, but yeah, I think we're really confident coming into the summer tournament."
Despite playing without a couple of its regulars, Lake Oswego was solid in all facets on Monday, and grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning it would not relinquish. Thomas Dukart got things started when he reached base on an error, then scored his team's first run when Sebolsky tripled to left-center field off Tualatin starter Brayden Fox. Sebolsky then came home to make it 2-0 when Tualatin's second baseman couldn't handle Giroux's hard shot to the right side.
Tualatin, after stranding three runners in its first two at-bats, took its best shot at scoring in the top of the third. Colby Jackson started things when he hit a one-out double to center field, Giroux hit Ryan Webb with a pitch, and then was called for a balk to put runners at second and third with one out. But Dukart made sure Tualatin did not score. When next batter Chris Freese hit a fly ball to right field, Dukart made the catch, then threw a one-hop strike to catcher Gabe DeVille to cut down Jackson at the plate.
Dukart then kicked off the bottom of the third with a triple to right and scored when Sebolsky followed with a double to left. Giroux added a single, and with two outs, Dawson Jaramillo hit a sacrifice fly to center that plated Sebolsky for a 4-0 lead.
While Lake Oswego missed out on a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the fourth, it mattered little. The team came back with two more runs in the fifth against reliever Gavin Moore, getting an RBI single to left from Jackson Laurent and a run-scoring sacrifice fly to center from Kellen Rice.
Rice came on to throw two perfect innings in relief of Giroux, striking out three of the six batters he faced, and the Lake Oswego offense tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Giroux, DeVille and Jaramillo hit consecutive one-out singles for the first run in the sixth, and Matt Grimm added a double down the left field line to score DeVille with his team's final run.
While Giroux picked up the win and was never really challenged, he knew he could have done more.
"I threw all right, but I threw too many balls," he said. "I could have just thrown fastballs the whole time right down the middle, but I got wild and let the umpire get my head a little bit, but it's still win."
For Sebolsky, his success was based on a solid approach at the plate.
"My mindset was 'Just be aggressive early,'" he said. "I don't like getting curveballs late, so I was just hunting fastballs today."
For Lake Oswego, DeVille went 3 for 4 and scored twice, Grimm was 2 for 4 with one RBI and one run, and Laurent went 2 for 4 with one RBI.
For Tualatin, no player had more than one hit.