Titans strike out at super regionals

Titan shortstop Cam Russ slides across first base as Bulldog first baseman Dominic DeMiero tags him out in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 2 of Lane’s Super Regional playoffs against Bellevue on May 21. The Lane Titans lost 2-8 in Game 1 and 4-7 in Game 4 to be put out in a double elimination playoff against the Bellevue Bulldogs.
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Forty-eight hours, twenty-seven innings, three games, two losses and one Lane Titan baseball team. That is what the weekend numbers boiled down to for the Titans in the Lane Super Regionals, a Northwest Athletic Conference playoff event hosted by Lane over the weekend on May 21 and 22.

With Lane set to play the winner in the Super Regionals, the four-game weekend started with the Titans getting the opportunity to study the competition in Game 1 with the Bellevue Bulldogs against the Centralia Blazers. But after conquering the Blazers 11-2, the pouring over of strategy suddenly turned into a quick study as the Bulldogs proved that they were a force to be reckoned with.

That unstoppable force would immediately prove to be a problem for the Titans in Game 2. In just three plays in the top of the first inning, the Bulldogs put four runners across home plate. Even with a glimmer of hope provided by Titan outfielder Logan Roberts in the form of a home run and two RBIs, the Bulldogs continued unfettered to cross home in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings. Ending Game 2 with a final 8-2, the Bulldogs proved once again that they were at the top of their class.

But that wasn’t the end of the road to the field of dreams. In this double-elimination tournament, there was at least one more game the Titans could play, and it was in this game against Centralia where the Titans would shine.

Though behind 0-1 with Blazer catcher Brock Myklebust’s RBI in the top of the second, Titan shortstop Cam Russ would answer with his own RBI in the bottom of the third to tie the score. That would start a chain-reaction, with five runs in the fourth inning, two in the sixth and two in the seventh. The Blazers would surge back with four runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth, but it was too little too late. The Lane Titans would win 10-6 in Game 3 and end Centralia’s hopes for the championship.

With their spirits lifted, the Titans would go into Game 4 confident of their chances to win. Before the game, Titan pitcher Cooper Webster said he was “pretty stoked” to play against Bellevue. But the Bulldogs weren’t going to give the Titans a walk in the ballpark. With two runs in the top of the third and fifth innings, the Bulldogs would appear to repeat their crushing victory. However, the Titans weren’t finished.

With two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Titans evened the score. After a brief rain delay in the top of the seventh inning, both Lane and Bellevue would score two runs in the eighth inning and once again tie. Nevertheless, there was one inning to go, and it was the Bellevue Bulldogs who would make it count. Bulldog infielder Jordan LaFave, catcher Austin Pinorini and outfielder Lawyer Brown would score the final three runs in the top of the ninth inning to win 7-4. This loss would eliminate the Lane Titans from championship contention.

The 2016 NWAC Baseball Championship will be held in Longview, Washington in Lower Columbia College at David Story Field on May 26 through 30.