Hawken's homer wraps up first-half title for Knights.July 4, 2016
Corvallis clinched the first-half South Division title and an automatic WCL postseason playoff berth on Monday with a 2-1 victory at Yakima Valley.
Left fielder Cody Hawken (pictured) of Portland led off the ninth with a solo homer to break a 1-1 tie. Reliever Trenton Dupre (Washington State) then held the Pippins scoreless in the home ninth for the save and the Knights' fifth consecutive series win.
The Knights (21-8 all, 15-8 WCL) can finish no worse than a tie with the Pippins (15-12 first half) through the first 27 games, which constitute the first half. Even if the Knights lose their next four games and they finish with identical records, the Knights would win the South by virtue of their superior record within the division.
Hawken lined an 0-1 pitch through a stiff breeze that cleared the left-field fence just inside the foul pole. It was his first homer of the summer in WCL play and his second overall.
The Knights trailed 1-0 heading into the seventh. But Kyle Nobach (Oregon State) led off with a double, moved to third on Emilio Alcantar's (Lewis-Clark State) bunt single and scored when Andy Atwood (OSU) hit into a double play.
Corvallis starter Hazahel Quijada (UC Riverside) allowed four hits and one run in five innings, with two strikeouts. Jacob Fricke (Western Oregon) then added three perfect innings and improved to 2-0 when Hawken slammed his decisive homer.
Dupre allowed a one-out single in the ninth but the Knights ended the game on a 6-4-3 double play. It was his first save of the season.
The series concludes at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday. Lefty Cameron Bishop (1-0, 0.00) is the scheduled starter for Corvallis; Yakima Valley's starter is TBA.
The Knights then complete the first half of their WCL schedule by hosting Wenatchee in a single game on Wednesday and a doubleheader on Thursday.