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Pacers top Lions with walk-off single

Michael Sheldon's two-out hit preserves Mitch Maynes' gem on the mound

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Jack Daraee celebrates after scoring the winning run in the first game of Lakeridge's series with West Linn Monday. The Lakeridge baseball team was due to catch a break this year and, on Monday, the Pacers picked up a crucial 3-2 victory in walk-off fashion in their opener against West Linn.

Lakeridge was coming off back-to-back series losses, having been swept by Lake Oswego and then bested by Canby in the rubber match which left the team with a 1-5 record and some ground to make up.

The Pacers picked up their first league win in a 6-0 victory over the Cougars last week, bolstered by a pair of home runs from Graham Leib.

On Monday, Lakeridge received a stellar pitching performance and overcame some inopportune errors to take down the Lions in a thriller.

The Pacers struck first against West Linn ace Karsen Lindell. The Lions were sloppy in the field to open the game and Lakeridge came through with a pair of unearned runs.

Mitch Maynes was terrific for the Pacers, working his way through West Linn's solid line-up and keeping the Lions off balanced with a steady diet of off-speed pitches.

Meanwhile, Lindell bore down after the tough first inning and the Pacers had very few scoring chances in the contest.

In the top of the fifth, three consecutive errors on ground balls staked the Lions to their first run of the game. West Linn threatened to pull even or take the lead but Maynes was able to coax a key double play to keep the game at 2-1.

In the bottom of the inning, Clarke Smith drew a walk and was moved into scoring position on a bunt by Kevan Thomas but the Lions would get a double play of their own to end the threat.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lakeridge looked to grab an insurance run when Jacob Tipton singled to load the bases.

However, a force-out at home and a strikeout got the Lions out of the jam.

In the top of the seventh, Maynes recorded the first out before giving up a single. The West Linn runner then advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter flied out to shallow centerfield.

The Lions attempted to tag up and the throw into third base sailed wide, allowing the tying run to score.

The game appeared to be headed to extra innings as Lakeridge's first two batters went down. However, Jack Daraee hit a two-out single and, while stealing second base, the throw from home went into the outfield, moving Daraee into scoring position.

West Linn then intentionally walked Dutton Elske to bring up Michael Sheldon. Sheldon hit a line drive into left field for the winning run and was mobbed at first base.

Lakeridge will look to win the series with the Lions this week and move up in the standings.

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