Soto, Bishop lead Knights over Elks 2-1 in opener.August 15, 2015
Jackson Soto's (pictured) RBI single gave Corvallis a 2-1 win over Bend on Tuesday night in the opener of their WCL semifinal playoff series.
Second baseman Marc Gallegos (Corban) led off the decisive eighth inning with a walk. Tim Rausch (Western Oregon) bunted him to second and Soto (West Albany HS/Oregon State in 2014-15) singled on a 3-2 pitch to score Gallegos with the eventual winning run.
Reliever Chris Bishop (Pacific Lutheran) then slammed the door on the Elks in the final two innings. Bend had the tying run at first in the ninth after a leadoff single, but shortstop Michael Lucarelli (Portland) alertly fielded a ball on one hop instead of catching it, and then started a 6u, 6-3 double play to erase the baserunner. Bishop then got the final out on a grounder to first base.
The Knights (41-19) will host Game 2 in the best-of-3 series at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday at Goss Stadium. Linfield righty Chris Haddeland (4-4, 3.28) is their scheduled starter, opposed by Kevin Hamann (3-2, 3.40).
Game 3 (if necessary) will be at 6:40 p.m. Thursday at Goss Stadium. The best-of-3 WCL Championship Series against Bellingham or Yakima Valley starts Saturday at a to-be determined site. Bellingham won 4-1 at Yakima on Tuesday in the opener of that series.
Corvallis starter Angel Landazuri (UC Riverside) had three strikeouts and allowed one run and four hits in five innings in his final appearance of the summer, as he heads home to Southern California on Wednesday. Bishop then relieved and went four scoreless innings for the win. He allowed one hit and did not have a strikeout.
The Knights had several early chances to score but didn't, and fell behind 1-0 in the fourth on a solo homer by Billy King. Corvallis tied it in the fifth on a double by Dane Lund (Oregon State), an errant pickoff throw and Dalton Kelly's (UC Santa Barbara) sacrifice fly. It stayed knotted up until the eighth.
Soto singled twice and was the only Knight with two hits. Kevin Kline (Dixie State), Scott Quinlan (UC Santa Barbara) and Lund each doubled.
The Knights are the reigning WCL champion and have advanced to the Championship Series in six of their seven previous years in Corvallis.