Wednesday, August 23, Corvallis, Ore. - The West Coast League champion Corvallis Knights announced their…
Friday, July 2, Corvallis, Ore. – The Knights Ubered their way into the West Coast League playoffs.
Future Stanford Cardinal pitcher Ty Uber stymied Ridgefield on three hits over seven innings in a 5-2 victory that clinched a 14th consecutive playoff berth. The Knights locked up the first-half South Division title and earned home-field advantage in the divisional round with the big win, delighting the Goss Stadium crowd of 1,131.
The Knights (16-6 WCL, 17-7 overall) lead second-place Ridgefield (13-9) by three games with two first-half games remaining. Portland (10-8) could tie the Knights by winning its final six first-half games, but Corvallis swept a three-game series from the Pickles on June 22-24 and owns the tiebreaker.
The four-time defending champions, Corvallis had made the playoffs every season since the current four-team format was adopted in 2007. That was the team’s first season in Corvallis following its relocation from Gresham.
Uber allowed a double on the first pitch of the game, then gave up only two hits the rest of the way. He struck out nine, did not issue a walk, and threw 66 strikes in 104 pitches in an efficient two-hour, 14-minute gem.
A 6-foot-4, 225-pounder from Cameron Park, Calif., Uber was 1-0, 2.81 in four appearances heading into Friday’s masterpiece. His longest outing was 5.1 hitless innings in a victory at Port Angeles on June 9.
“I had the mentality of attacking the hitters and it worked out for me,” Uber said. “Skip (coach Brooke Knight) trusts me and trusts my stuff.
“I wanted to go longer and he let me go. This was a big game, we talked about clinching the playoffs and having home-field advantage, which is really big.
“Moving forward we’re just going to keep the same mentality, keep beating teams and keep attacking.”
The Knights had only three hits but took advantage of wildness by Raptors’ starter Ryan Harvey to score four runs in the third inning. Two runs scored on wild pitches, another on a bases-loaded hit batter in the decisive inning.
Travis Bazzana (Oregon State) and Nate Nankil (Cal State Fullerton) had the Knights’ only RBIs. They did not have a hit over the final four innings.
Reliever Tyler Frazier (UC Riverside) finished up, stranding the tying run in the eighth and ninth innings.
The series resumes at 7:15 p.m. Saturday with the annual July 3 Fireworks Night game at Goss Stadium. Utah’s Ben Kibbe (0-1, 13.06) will start for the Knights, opposed by Oregon State right-hander Jaren Hunter (1-0, 2.38) in a matchup of right-handers.
The Knights head to Ridgefield on Sunday for a 3:05 p.m. encounter. They return to Goss Stadium on Monday for a 6:35 p.m. nonleague game against the Cascade Collegiate All-Stars, and then host longtime WCL rival Bellingham on Tuesday through Thursday.