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Baseball: Lions push past Milwaukie, but playoffs not likely

St. Helens may have beaten Milwaukie 8-2, but their chances of seeing postseason baseball are slim to none


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Junior  Bryson Takemoto slides home in the first inning to put the Lions up 5-0 on Milwaukie. St. Helens beat the Mustangs 8-2 on Tuesday afternoon.Faced with the possibility of narrowly missing the playoffs, the Lions came out hungry and got the start – and the result – that they desperately needed.

St. Helens scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and held on to beat Milwaukie 8-2 on Tuesday afternoon, keeping their slim chances of postseason baseball alive.

Senior Josh Keller led off with a single to right field and quickly stole second before being batted home with a big fly ball to center field from Tyler Stangland. Bryce Mulcahy's sacrifice fly gave the Lions a two-run lead after Stangland stole second and third, and a single from Noah Weitzel batted home Bryce Winnier to go up by three.

The Mustangs weren't quite finished with their dismal inning. Brody Takemoto leapt on a wild pitch and beat both the catcher and the pitcher to home plate, and an error at short stop left the door wide open for Bryson Takemoto to dash in for the score.

St. Helens finally capped their rally with a grounder from senior Adam Spencer that scored Weitzel before Keller finally grounded out to first base.

Milwaukie finally responded in the fourth inning. Maxx True took several steps off of second base after Bryce Sanford threw his second strike to Aaron Wenger at the plate, and as Sanford turned to pick True off at second, the ball went over the baseman's hand, and True pounced, rounding third and scoring for the Mustang's first run of the contest.

Moments later, Wenger got the gift run of a lifetime. Sanford attempted to pick him off as he advanced on second base, but missed his target. Brody Takemoto scooped up the ball at first base and hurled it toward third, hoping to catch Wenger as he pushed for scoring position, but the ball was too much for junior Brandon Jones, sailing past as Wenger rounded third, beating the ball to home plate for the Mustang's second run of the day.

Thankfully for the home team, all the errors seemed to have been shaken out in the fourth inning, as the rest of the way was perfect. St. Helens scored twice more in the bottom of the fifth, taking an 8-0 lead as Sanford struck out five batters down the stretch to preserve the victory for the Lions.

With one game remaining in the regular season, St. Helens will have to keep their fingers crossed in order to see extra baseball. Milwaukie (6-18, 3-13 NWOC) is the lone team left for the Lions, who sit at No. 25 in the power rankings, one spot out of the final playoff berth.

Wilsonville, who beat the Lions 2-1 in the season series, is one spot ahead of St. Helens and will play No. 12 Sandy in the season finale. Even if Wilsonville falls and the Lions win, it's unlikely that St. Helens will leapfrog the Wildcats and make the postseason.

Note: Keller was injured while being picked off at first base in the fourth inning, possibly dislocating a finger as he extended a hand toward the base to avoid the out.

SUMMARY

St. Helens 8, Milwaukie 2

St. Helens High School

MILW 000 200 0 – 2 3 2

STHE 600 020 x – 8 9 4

St. Helens

Hits (9): Keller 2, Stangland 2, Mulcahy 2, Brody Takemoto, Bryson Takemoto, Weitzel

RBI (5): Stangland, Mulcahy, Brody Takemoto, Weitzel, Spencer

Runs (8): Keller, Stangland, Winnier, Mulcahy, Brody Takemoto, Bryson Takemoto 2, Weitzel