Titans lose to champions Lower Columbia 6-0
Alan K. Fox
Media Credit: Eugene Johnson
Sophomore designated hitter Andrew Schumacher helped in the Titans effort all the way to the NWAACC Championship game May 27-31.
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Media Credit: Eugene Johnson
Sophomore pitcher Scott Allred making a play in a 6-1 victory against Treasure Valley May 29.
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Lane baseball (33-17, 20-10) entered the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges' playoffs for the first time since 2006 on May 27 as the Southern Region's number two seed in Longview, Wash. The Titans finished the regular season strong, winning 18 of its last 20 games. They would go 4-2 in the playoffs, only losing to the championship team twice.
In the first game, the Titans were matched up with the tournament's number one seed and hosting team Lower Columbia College (40-5, 22-3) and their sophomore pitching ace, Alex Phillips on May 27.
The Titans fell behind 4-0 after two innings, but were able to score two runs in the third inning with RBI singles by freshman second baseman Kyle Hoover and freshman catcher Joe Offer, making the score 4-2 going into the bottom of the third inning. The Red Devils would score again in the bottom of the third off of a RBI single from sophomore left fielder Aaron Grenz.
The score would remain 5-2 up until the eighth inning when freshman right fielder Ben McQuown hit a two-RBI home run to put the Red Devils ahead for good 7-2. This would be the Titans' first loss in the double elimination tournament.
Red Devils' starting pitcher Phillips, who will be pitching at the University of Kentucky, pitched eight innings and threw for eight strikeouts in the winning effort.
All games on May 28 were postponed due to the heavy rainfall in the Longview area.
The Titans were matched up with the Eastern Region's number one seed, Columbia Basin (33-15,22-6), in second game of the tournament on May 29. This would be the first of two games for Lane that day.
In the top of the second inning, Offer would reach second base on a throwing error from the Hawks sophomore third baseman Mario Sanelli. Offer would then be moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore first baseman Tyler Conner and come around to score on a RBI single from sophomore designated hitter Andrew Schumacher.
The Hawks would then respond with a run themselves in the bottom of the second when sophomore left fielder Jason Jones drove in freshman designated hitter and pitcher on a RBI single to left field.
Lane responded with another run in the top of the third inning on a RBI double from freshman third baseman Matt Myrmo. The double drove in freshman center fielder Jimmy Sanchez, who reached base on a walk.
The Titans would then explode in the top of the fourth inning with three runs. Lane filled the bases when a pitch hit freshman Randy Berger. Later, Sanchez would get a RBI on a single to left field. In the next at bat, freshman Shay Huskey would drive in two more runs for the Titans on a single, putting Lane ahead for good 5-1.
Titans freshman starting pitcher Chris Reed pitched nine strikeouts in his seven innings pitched, and the NWAACC-leader in saves, freshman relief pitcher Nick Phillips entered the game in the eighth inning, earning himself his first save of the tournament.
Lane was matched up against Treasure Valley (34-14, 19-9) in its second game of the day. The Chukars entered the playoffs ranked third in the Eastern Region.
The Titans would be the first to score in the bottom of the third inning when Berger scored off of a sacrifice bunt by from Huskey.
The Titans would score again off of a three-run home run in the fourth inning for Berger to left center field, putting Lane ahead 6-0. Berger stared at the plate batting 2 for 3 with a double, homerun and three RBI.
The Chukars would get their only score of the game in the top of the sixth inning when sophomore right fielder Matt Comer scored on an error.
Treasure Valley loaded the bases in the eighth inning with no outs, but sophomore pitcher Reed Nicholson, who came in relief, was able to strikeout the next two Chukar batters and retired the third on a ground out to end the inning.
Lane would win the game 6-1.
The Titans' were up against the Southern Region's number one seed, Chemeketa (34-12, 21-9) in the fourth game of the playoffs. Lane was 1-5 against their division rival in the regular season.
The Storm would be the first team to score with a home run to right field from sophomore left fielder Chad Fahey in the bottom of the third inning, which would be the only score of the game for Chemeketa. Fahey would account for both of the Storm's only two hits of the game.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Titans began to show life. Myrmo started the inning with a single down the right-field line. Two batters later, Offer would single to right field, moving Myrmo to third base. Conner would put Lane on the scoreboard for the first time with a RBI single. Schumacher, next at bat, would drive in Offer on a double down the third-base line giving the Titans the lead 2-1. Lane would then hit into a double play to end the inning.
The Storm would put a little pressure on the Titans with a leadoff double by Fahey, but Nick Phillips would enter the game in relief and retire the next three batters.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Chukars were able to but runners on first and second after sophomore Trent Olezszcuk was hit by a pitch and sophomore Travis Setere reached on an error, but Phillips was able to respond with a strikeout to seal the win for the Titans.
The Titans pitching continued to look strong. Starting pitcher sophomore Larson Kohler pitched seven strikeouts in seven innings and Phillips threw three strikeouts in his two innings of relief.
The fifth game of the tournament for the Titans was a back and forth battle with defending champions Bellevue (32-20, 14-10) on May 31, who beat the number one seed Lower Columbia earlier in the day.
The Bulldogs came out hot at the plate three runs on four hits in the top of the first inning.
Lane would respond right back in the bottom of the first. Offer would put the Titans on the scoreboard for the first time with a RBI single scoring Huskey how reached base on an error. Schumacher would later add to the scoring himself with a RBI single of his own scoring Offer from third-base making the score 3-2 in Bellevue's advantage.
The Titans would score again after two quick outs in the bottom of the fourth. Huskey would hit a RBI single, scoring sophomore Quinn Peck to tie the game 3-3.
Lane would turn it back on in the fifth inning with three runs. Conner drove in Myrmo with a RBI single to right center. Schumacher and Peck would also both drive in runs to put the Titans up 6-3 after five innings.
The Bulldogs were able to make the game a one-run game in the top of the sixth inning after a RBI single by sophomore center fielder Ryan Burnett. Freshman second baseman Cory Urquhart, who singled earlier in the inning, would later steal home making the score 6-5 still in advantage of Lane.
In the eighth inning, the Bulldogs would tie the game up after sophomore designated hitter Ian Parmley got a RBI on a groundout.
Lane would respond right back in the bottom of the eighth with two runs securing the lead for good on a RBI single by Hoover. He would later score on an error.
In the Championship game, it was a rematch from game one with Lower Columbia and tournament MVP Alex Phillips.
Once again, the pitching of Phillips proved to be too much. He pitched eight innings of shutout baseball and picked up seven strikeouts along the way.
The Red Devils shut out the Titans securing the school's 10th NWAACC Championship.