Bruins rally past Crater
CENTRAL POINT - Crater High's magical ride through the baseball playoffs came to an abrupt end on Wednesday.
The Comets led Barlow of Gresham 5-2 through five innings and seemed headed for their second straight trip to the Class 4A state championship game, only to watch the Bruins explode for seven runs in the top of the sixth for a stunning 9-6 victory at Anhorn Field.
The come-from-behind victory advanced the Bruins into Saturday's title game against Lakeridge, a 6-5 winner over Sheldon in Wednesday's other semifinal contest.
"They did to us what we've been doing to other teams in the playoffs," said Crater catcher Jared Maddocks, who clubbed a pair of home runs in the loss. "They came back and got us."
Maddocks hit a three-run homer in the first inning and added a mammoth solo blast in the fourth. Craig Mulder chipped in an RBI double in the third as the Comets built a 5-2 advantage through five innnings.
With starting pitcher Chris Pettegrew off to his best start since pulling a hamstring muscle two weeks ago, the Comets looked to be in good shape, particularly after Barlow had two outs and nobody on base to start the sixth.
Pettegrew then walked Greg Wells before getting Greg Rohr to hit what should have been an inning-ending ground ball to third base.
However, Crater third baseman Frank Drake overthrew first base, and by the time the Comets registered the third out the Bruins had seven hits and seven runs on the board, turning a 5-2 deficit into a 9-5 lead.
"It's a tough deal because we should have been out of the inning, but you'd think we could have gotten one more out somewhere along the way," Crater coach Chuck Dominiak said. "And you can't put all the blame on Frank (Drake). He made a great play that saved us two runs earlier in the game."
Jason Brehm had two hits during the Bruins' barrage and Ryan Patrick stroked a two-run single, but the big blow was delivered by James Allan, who broke a 5-5 tie by hitting a three-run homer over the center field fence.
"I was thinking their center fielder (Kenny Strate) might run that ball down, but it carried out of the park," Allan said. "I was sitting on a fastball and I got one."
Allan, a sophomore first baseman, has had a dream-like playoff series. He entered Wednesday's game 10-for-10 at the plate and went 3-for-4 with four RBIs against the Comets.
Four of Allan's hits in the postseason have been home runs.
"That kid (Allan) was a Little League phenom - he holds all the home run records in Gresham," Barlow coach Steve Stribbins said. "He put a lot of pressure on himself when we put him in our lineup this season. He struggled at first but he's on a tear now and we're riding his back."
Dominiak pulled Pettegrew after he gave up a walk and two hits in the sixth, but Pettegrew's successor - Derek Petersen - yielded four straight hits, including Allan's decisive homer.
Barlow, the No. 2 representative from the Mount Hood Conference, had a similar comeback in a first-round victory over Mountain View when it overcame a 7-1 deficit.
"I told our guys today when we were down 5-2 that we've been there before," said Stebbins, whose team had four sophomores in its starting lineup. "I told them to just keep chipping away."
The Comets staged a mini rally in the seventh when Drake led off with a single and scored when Ryan Gipson got aboard on an error. Maddocks then singled for his third hit of the game, leaving Crater with runners on the corners and one out.
But winning pitcher Ted Pentecost got Petersen to hit into a game-ending double play.
Crater finished the year with a 23-7 record and is 40-10 over the past two seasons.
"We're pretty frustrated right now but we played our hearts out and went a lot further than anyone thought we would," Maddocks said. "We had a great season."
Barlow................................................. 010 017 0 - 9 14 2Crater.................................................. 301 100 — - 6 11 1
Patrick, Pentecost (5) and Donohue; Pettegrew, Petersen (6) and Maddocks. W - Pentecost (3-2). L - Pettegrew (5-2). 2B - B: Wells; C: C. Mulder. HR - B: Allan; C: Maddocks 2.