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Second-ranked Lancers land hard in upset.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

Southridge coach Don Fitzgerald knew how dejected Churchill felt after his unranked Skyhawks upset the second-ranked Lancers 6-2.

"I was right there last year," Fitzgerald said. "We were ranked No. 1 in the state and got beat right off the bat. I walked in with a bunch of horses, we were supposed to run through the tournament, and we got beat in the first game. It's an empty feeling."

Churchill was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and won its playoff opener against Sandy on Monday before losing to Southridge in the third round of the OSAA Class 4A baseball playoffs at Churchill High School on Wednesday.

The Skyhawks will meet Sprague in the quarterfinals on Friday. The Midwestern League champions were eliminated in the third round for the second year in a row.

"That's a good club we played," Churchill coach Erik Hoberg said. "They came out strong and we made some mistakes, and you've got to be perfect when you get to these rounds and we didn't play perfect baseball."

The Lancers committed four errors that led to three unearned runs for Southridge.

That was more than enough offense for senior pitcher Jordan Post, who allowed six hits and two runs in a complete game.

"My change-up was working well today," Post said. "They were chasing a lot of pitches low and outside with the change-up. They are all good hitters, but I just got them off balance a bit."

Southridge led 2-1 before scoring four runs in the top of the fourth inning on three hits and two Churchill errors.

Scott Coleman reached base on a fielder's choice, and then Trent Oleszczuk doubled and Jordan Burger walked to load the bases with one out. Post hit a sacrifice fly, and a throwing error on the play allowed Oleszczuk and Burger to move up a base.

J.J. Hitchcock singled in Oleszczuk, and then Greg Stolzenburg reached base on an error that allowed two more runs to score to make it 6-1.

"We didn't play good defense, but you've got to give it to Southridge," Hoberg said. "They sprayed the baseball around, and we just didn't get it done when we needed to."

Churchill cut its deficit to 6-2 when Travis Larsen doubled home Corey Kent in the bottom of the sixth, and the Lancers eventually loaded the bases with one out before a double play ended their threat.

Fitzgerald played a hunch and started Andy Eiden on the mound in Monday's 6-5 win over South Medford to leave Post, the ace of the staff, ready for the Lancers.

"We didn't do that on purpose, I just had a gut feeling on Andy because he's been with me for four years," Fitzgerald said. "Jordan came to me and said, `Coach, I'd love to throw against Churchill if it's possible.'

"What can you say about Jordan? He could have easily given up in the sixth inning, but he did a great job for us."

Eric Brown hit a solo home run for Churchill in the second inning, and Larsen and Jerad Thompson each hit a ball that was caught at the fence during the game.

"I thought we hit the ball real well, and they had us played right," Hoberg said. "They played us deep, and they were able to track down balls in the gap because they were back so far."

CAPTION(S):

Jordan Post held Churchill to six hits while leading Southridge to the 6-2 victory over the Lancers in their third-round game Wednesday. O S A A b a s e b a l l p l a y o f f s
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports; Churchill is eliminated in the third round for the second consecutive year
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 26, 2005
Words:614
Previous Article:Swede delights in chance to defend his NCAA title.
Next Article:Spartans shown the door by Mazama in 3A second round.


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