The Knights advance to play state champion Wilson
by: David Ball, East County starter Austan Mason took a shutout into the eighth inning and finished with nine strikeouts during the Knights' 3-2 series-clinching win against Tigard on Friday night.

East County escaped a couple late scares to beat Tigard 3-2 to take the best-of-three playoff series Friday night.

The Knights broke up a scoreless game in the fifth inning when Will DeBiccari sent a two-out blooper into center field to score Jim Bray from second base. East County pitcher Austan Mason helped his own cause by banging a two-run double over the right fielder's head to extend the lead to 3-0 later in the inning.

'I was just battling with two strikes,' Mason said. 'I felt like I had hit the ball well, and I looked up and saw it going pretty deep. That gave us a couple insurance runs that we ended up needing.'

Tigard made a late charge when Nate Grisham hit an RBI-single, and Gunner Cederberg also crossed home plate on an East County error.

The Twins threatened to force extra innings when Isaiah Ferrer connected for a double in the ninth. But East County reliever Greg Bobnick struck out the next batter and forced a fly out to right field to end the game.

The Knights advance to the metro-area Final Four with the victory and can clinch a spot in next week's AAA legion state tournament by beating Wilson in an 8:15 p.m. game Saturday at Sandy's Bell Street Field. The Trojans won the Class 4A state title during the spring season.

The loser of Saturday's game will need to win a do-or-die game Sunday to claim the final state berth.