OIBA BASEBALL: Mercenary Industries 13, HPS 2

Using 20 different players, the Century summer OIBA team avenged a week one loss with a runaway 13-2 win against rival HPS at Glencoe’s Petrick Field.

The Crimson Tide won the first meeting of the two Hillsboro and Metro League rivals 10-5 in the first game played at Century High school this season. The Jaguars returned the favor by beating the Tide on their home field, giving each team a 1-1 record to start the summer.

The Jaguars are displaying the makings of a fearsomely deep and talented (and VERY tall) pitching staff that could have them right back in the upper division of the Metro League after tying for second place in 2017. And they have yet to use their top two returning pitchers on the mound.

Four different pitchers saw time on the mound for Mercenary, beginning with rising sophomore Ian Lawson, who made waves in the spring by homering in his first varsity at bat as a freshman. Although Lawson was far from dominating over his two innings plus, he shows the potential for future domination as his already impressive frame continues to physically mature and he refines his mechanics. Lawson pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the first, then was lifted after the first two Tide batters reach base in the third inning. The tallest of the Jaguars staff of young hurlers, six-foot-eight Kyler Somers, immediately quelled the threat, retiring Glencoe’s number three and four hitters on back-to-back strikeouts before ending the innings with a harmless fly out to right. Somers, the younger brother of Metro League Pitcher Of The Year and future Oregon Ducks Kolby Somers, retired the side with two more punch outs in the fourth inning before running into trouble with back-to-back walks in the fifth. Rising sophomore Barry Sherrill replaced Somers and hit a batter to load the bases before giving up a two-RBI single to HPS’s Sam Kirk. It would be the only runs of the game for the Tide.

Mercenary had already gained a 5-0 lead with two runs in the third inning off Tide starting pitcher Kirk and three more in the fourth, batting around against reliever Jacob Trasel. Josh Grant singled, stole second and home on a double-steal in the third and plated a run with an RBI single in the fourth. Keaton Johnson walked and scored in the third inning and drove in a run with a bunt single int he fourth.

The Jaguars blew the game open with a five-run sixth inning, sending ten men to the plate. Grant and Johnson each scored a run in the inning and backup catcher Alex Garcia drove in two runs with a single and later scored.

Garcia had three productive at bats after entering the game in the fourth inning, going 2-for-2 with three runs batted in. Grant and Johnson each scored two runs with an RBI. Johnson reached base four times on three walks and a single.

The last of Century’s four pitchers, Blake Baccay, retired all six batters he faced with two strikeouts to earn the victory. Kirk took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits with three strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. The Tide also utilized four different pitchers, although they didn’t go nearly as deep into their reserves as the Jaguars, who will not field a team in the Futures league this summer, but will participate in the OIBA championship tournament if they qualify.

The Jaguars outhit HPS 11-2 in the contest. Rising junior Joe Collins had the only other hit for the Tide. Will Stephens and Lucas Young each reached base twice on bases on balls. Collins went 1-for-3 with a walk and a runs scored.

Mercenary returns to action on Saturday, taking on the Alpenrose Dairy Red Sox, an American Legion AAA team based at Wilson High School, in a home doubleheader at 11:00 a.m. HPS hosts McMinnville Wednesday night before traveling to Forest Grove to take on the 2-1 Vikings on Thursday night. That game will be broadcast live on KUIK starting at 5:25 p.m.