The rival Tigers and Timberwolves each score a thrilling 5-4 walk-off victory

by: DAN BROOD - RIVALS IN ACTION -- Tigard junior second baseman Bruin Campbell (left) looks to scoop up the ball as Tualatin senior Austin Marsh steals second base in Friday's game.TUALATIN — It was a game that had everything.

No, it was two games that had everything.

It was a series that had everything.

What else would you expect when the rival Tigard and Tualatin high school baseball squads get together?

The talented adversaries had an exhilarating two-game Pacific Conference series that featured clutch plays, some rain and darkness, solid pitching, thrilling rally after rally and a pair of walk-off victories.

The series opened Friday with Tigard rallying to score two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 4-3 lead, only to watch the Timberwolves rally to score two runs in the bottom of the frame to get a 5-4 victory in a game played at Tualatin High School.

On Monday, Tigard scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase a 4-0 deficit and send the second game of the series to extra innings. The Tigers then got a run in the bottom of the 10th inning to get a 5-4 win in a game played at Tigard High School.

“It’s always a battle when we play them,” Tualatin senior Connor Scott said following Friday’s game. “There’s nothing like it. It’s so intense. I think it’s one of the best rivalries in the state.”

“After the first couple of innings, I got the sense that this was a pretty intense rivalry,” said Tigard senior Conner Bryant, a transfer who played in his first Tigard-Tualatin game on Friday. “There was a lot of emotion on both sides. That made it a lot of fun.”

With the series split, Tigard evened its Pacific Conference record at 2-2 while also moving to 8-5 on the season. Tualatin moved to 3-1 in league action, putting the Wolves in a tie with Hillsboro and McMinnville for first place in the league standings, while moving to 7-5 on the season.

“We know when we go against Tigard that we really have to earn it,” Tualatin coach Adam Strachan said after Friday’s game. “Tigard is so well coached. We know Tigard is right up there.”

“The kids all really battle,” Tigard coach Tom Campbell said following the series. “It was a lot of fun.”

In Friday’s series-opener, played under a constant driving rain, Tualatin grabbed a 1-0 lead with a run in the bottom of the first inning.

Junior Joey Fishback got things going for the Wolves with a one-out double down the left-field line. Fishback ended up scoring on a two-out single by senior Austin Marsh to give Tualatin its early advantage.

Tualatin added onto its lead in the bottom of the second inning. Scott and junior Jake Gellos each drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with one out in the frame. One out later, senior Jon Fishback doubled to right field, driving in both Scott and Gellos to up the Timberwolves’ lead to 3-0.

Tigard got a run back in the top of the third inning. Tiger senior Robby Chabreck hit a one-out single to left field. He moved to second base on a wild pitch and then scored on Bryant’s two-out double to deep left field, making the score 3-1.

Tigard got even closer by scoring another run in the top of the sixth inning. Bryant, leading off the frame, reached second base on a Tualatin throwing error. Two outs later, Tiger senior Wade Johnson singled to right-center field, driving in pinch-runner George Still to trim the Tualatin lead to 3-2.

That’s when things started getting really interesting.

Marsh reached first base on a Tigard throwing error to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Timberwolf senior Andrew Schlottmann followed that with a bunt single. The runners then moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Scott. Junior Cooper Brunner then drew a walk, loading the bases with one out.

Gellos then hit a fly ball to left field. Chabreck, after catching the ball, threw a long-distance strike to Tiger senior catcher Brittain Schneider, who tagged out pinch-runner Kyle George at the plate for an inning-ending double play.

The dramatics went up a notch in the seventh inning.

Tigard junior Bradley Imai was hit by a pitch to open up the final frame. Senior Parker Garland then walked on a 3-2 pitch to put runners on first and second. Gellos, Tualatin’s catcher, picked Imai off second base for the first out of the inning. But Chabreck was awarded first base on catcher’s interference to help keep the Tigers’ hopes alive.

Following a pop up for the second out of the inning, Bryant blasted a double to left-center field, driving in both Garland and Chabreck to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.

“I just tried not to think too much,” Bryant said of his clutch hit. “I saw a fastball and hit it. It felt pretty good.”

Now, it was Tualatin’s turn to try and rally from behind.

Timberwolf sophomore Jacob Bennett walked on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Jon Fishback then drew a walk. Both batter then moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Joey Fishback.

Tualatin junior Brandon Shroyer, on a 0-2 pitch, then singled to left field, driving in both pinch runner Tanner Marsh and Jon Fishback to give the Wolves a 5-4 victory and ignite a wild Tualatin victory celebration as darkness set in.

“I told myself that all of the hard work and the extra cuts had to pay off sometime,” Shroyer said of his game-winning hit. “It felt amazing. It was surreal. It was like a dream come true.”

“It was like a playoff atmosphere,” Scott said. “I couldn’t stop moving.”

Scott pitched the distance for Tualatin in the win. He gave up four runs on five hits while striking out 10 and walking one.

“I just believed in our team,” he said.

Tualatin had six hits in the win — one each by Jon Fishback, Marsh, Joey Fishback, Brunner, Schlottmann and Shroyer.

Bryant pitched the first six innings for Tigard. He gave up three runs on five hits while striking out six and walking four. Bryant also went 2 for 4 at the plate with two doubles and three RBIs.

Junior Bruin Campbell, Chabreck and Johnson added one hit apiece for the Tigers.

In Monday’s second game of the series, Tualatin took control early, scoring three runs in the top of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. There would be no more scoring until the top of the seventh, when the Wolves pushed another run across to go up 4-0.

But Tigard got going in a big way in the bottom of the seventh. Bruin Campbell got things going with a one-out single. He stole second and then scored on a single by Bryant to make the score 4-1.

Tiger senior Patrick Finn followed with a single of his own. One out later, Johnson came through with an RBI single, plating pinch-runner Kristian Allen to trim the margin to 4-2.

Senior pinch-hitter Joe Lobbato then singled in Finn to make the score 4-3. Tiger junior Jessie Bye followed with another clutch RBI single, as he drove in Finn to make the score 4-4 and send the contest to extra innings.

The teams were still tied at 4-4 going into the bottom of the 10th inning. Garland, leading off the frame for Tigard, struck out, but he reached first base on a wild pitch on strike three. Garland then moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Chabreck.

Bruin Campbell followed with a single, with Garland moving to third on the hit. After Bryant was intentionally walked, Finn drove in Garland with the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly.

“Our kids showed a lot of fortitude,” Tom Campbell said.

Chabreck pitched the first seven innings for Tigard. Still pitched the next two frames, striking out four batters. Finn threw the final inning.

“We had three really strong pitching performances,” Campbell said.

Finn and Bruin Campbell each had a pair of hits for Tigard in the victory.

Tigard was scheduled to host McMinnville and Tualatin was slated to play at Forest Grove in league games on Wednesday. Results of those games weren’t available when the Times went to press.

Today (Thursday), Tigard will travel to McMinnville and Tualatin will be home to face Forest Grove in 5 p.m. league tilts. On Tuesday, the Tigers will host Century and Tualatin will travel to Glencoe.

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