Knappa took advantage of early Horizon Christian mistakes, and then survived a late Hawk rally, to win a high-scoring, first-round Class 2A-1A state playoff baseball game, 13-11, Wednesday in The Dalles.
The Loggers (19-8), who held leads of 10-2 after three innings and 13-4 after five, needed every bit of those advantages to stave off Horizon’s seven-run sixth inning. The Hawks (15-11) also had the tying run at the plate in the seventh, but couldn’t score.
“All season (assistant coach) Big Mike (Engel) was saying ‘It’d sure be nice to string together some runs,’” coach Joe Petshow said. “We finally did so today — in the biggest game of the year; it was great to see. We just needed one more at-bat.”
The game was scheduled for Knappa (near the Oregon Coast), but wet weather there forced it to be moved to The Dalles, where it was played under sunny skies at Quinton Street field. Knappa made itself right at home by taking a 4-2 lead after one inning. The Loggers, this year’s District 1 champion, showed their team balance by collecting 13 hits, including at least one from eight of nine starters.
“Knappa is a young team, but they know how to play the game,” Petshow said. “They made some mistakes today, too, but they also showed their depth.”
Knappa advanced to the quarterfinals where it was scheduled to play East Linn Christian from Lebanon.
The highlight of the game for Horizon was the sixth inning, when the Hawks sent 10 batters to the plate. With one out, Max Totaro, Jake Wells, RJ Hicks, Sam Anthony, Micah Engel and Jeff Wilkins delivered hits. Sandwiched amongst the safeties were Weston Hobkirk’s walk and Grant Lynn’s hit batsman. When the seven-run inning was over, Horizon had pulled within two runs.
Hicks’ seventh-inning single was the only hit Horizon could muster off reliever Kyle Kelly, who struck out two of four batters he faced to earn the save.
Anthony was 3 for 4 and scored three times to lead Horizon’s offense. Totaro was 2 for 3, and Hicks was 2 for 4 with a two-RBI double.
Mitch Engel was again the workhorse on the mound for the Hawks. The senior righty came on in relief of Anthony after one inning and finished the game.
“Mitch proved his toughness once again,” Petshow said. “He didn’t get the best support from his defense, but he kept battling and battling.”
The state playoff baseball game for Horizon was the first in school history.
“The six seniors have a lot to be proud of,” Petshow said. “Five of them helped the school win its first state championship (in basketball) and then led the team into the baseball playoffs.
“This loss will sting for awhile, but that will pass and hopefully they’ll feel satisfied with what they’ve accomplished.”