Westview beats Aloha 5-3 to start Metro League competition at 3-0 in '08

ROCK CREEK - You only get one chance to make a first impression, and there's no two ways about it - Westview made the better one on Friday afternoon.

The Wildcat baseball team pushed across three runs in the bottom of the first inning against Aloha, added single runs in the second and third frames and held on to beat the Warriors 5-3 and complete a sweep of its season-opening three-game series against the Warriors. The win lifted Westview's record to 3-0 (6-5 overall) while Aloha fell to 0-3 (4-8 overall).

'It's a great way to start, to get the sweep,' said Westview senior shortstop Kevin Larson, who knocked in two runs with a first-inning double on Friday. 'The Metro's one of the best leagues in the state every year so it's good to get an early start.'

'You can't complain,' added Westview coach Steve Antich, who led his team to its first-ever state championship game appearance last year. 'They've got a young team and they're going to compete and beat some teams along the way, so we're happy to come out with three wins.'

Aloha, which gave up five unearned runs in the loss, was disappointed to suffer a third straight loss, but still saw reason for hope in their performance.

'We just need to keep some of those errors out and … get some timely hitting and we'll be good,' said Aloha senior outfielder Jordan Gragg, who went 1-for-3 at the plate and drove in a run. 'I feel like we're doing really great at practice and we just need to bring it out on the field.'

'That's how the series has gone, and the whole year - we've lost too many one and two-run games,' said Aloha coach Matt Bailie. 'We leave guys on second and third. We just need somebody to come up with that big hit one time during the game.'

Westview senior pitcher Andrew Reese (4-1/3 innings, two hits, four walks, four strikeouts) shut Aloha down in the opening inning and the Wildcats took the lead immediately thereafter. Spencer Arns reached base on an error to open the game, and then, after Aloha pitcher Ryan Roshak got two outs, Chris Evola was hit by a pitch and Kevin Cech followed with an RBI single to right field. Larson followed with his double to left-center and Westview's lead was 3-0.

After a scoreless second for Aloha, Westview came back with another run in its half when Arns reached again on an error, moved up when Roger Boulden was hit by a pitch, stole third and scored on Eric Podwill's grounder to shortstop.

The Warriors answered with two runs in the top of the third when Kasey Kroner drew a walk, Cody Dickey reached on a fielder's choice, Bryon Clevenger singled to load the bases and Gragg followed with an RBI walk and Petter Overton-Harris with a run-scoring grounder.

But Westview answered in the bottom of the inning with its fifth run, Cech starting things when he reached on a two-base Aloha error and later scored on Ryan Creitz's single to right field. Aloha added its final run against reliever Aaron Luken in the top of the sixth when Skylar Card walked, took second on a Nate Dolman bunt, third on a balk and scored on Ben Kittleson's single to right.

For the game, Reese and Luken allowed just four hits and five walks while striking out six. Westview managed just four hits off Roshak, who also hit two, walked two and struck out two.

'We've got a great pitching staff this year - our pitchers are all solid,' Gragg said.

'Our pitchers are keeping us in every single game,' Bailie added. 'But we're still trying to find out who that person is that's going to spark us (with the bat) and when it happens, I think we're going to be all right.'

Westview is currently in the midst of a three-game series with Beaverton - its final game of the set is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday at Beaverton High School. Aloha is now facing Southridge, with the third game of their series due for 4:30 p.m. Friday at Aloha High School.

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