LONGVIEW, Washington – The Linn-Benton Baseball team is heading north for the Northwest Athletic Conference Baseball Championship tournament Thursday, May. 26, through Monday, May 30, at Lower Columbia Community College.
The Roadrunners are slated to play Lane Community College at 9:35 a.m. on Thursday, May 26, in a rematch that saw the Roadrunners take three of four from the Titans earlier in the season. That series featured an offensive resurgence for the Roadrunners, putting 36 runs on the scoreboard across the four-game series. The Roadrunners pitching staff limited the at the time red-hot Titans to 14 runs in the series.
Matchup – Roadrunners
Roadrunner Rhett Larson is set to take the mound against the Titans. Larson (6-1) has a 1.94 ERA across 60 ⅓ innings with 57 strikeouts. In his last outing against the Titans, Larson went 6 innings allowing 2 earned runs on 7 hits, while striking out 2, in a 13-4 Roadrunners victory.
“Passion and being competitive out there that’s all we can really do. Just trust ourselves and trust our approaches, pitches, and our defense, and we can go out there and win,” Larson said.
Offensively the Beaks will look for Michael Soper to continue his success at the plate. Soper is batting .327 on the year, with a .427 slugging percentage, 32 RBI, 27 stolen bases, 3 home runs, and is currently on a 15-game hitting streak. Through his 15-game hitting streak Soper is batting .444, with 17 stolen bases.
“We definitely get fired up to play them, and I know everyones is excited for NWAC’s [championship tournament], so I think we’re going to come out with a lot of energy, and play our game,” Soper said. “I’m going to stick with my approach, it has been working for me at the plate, just trust in my approach and hope for the best.”
Matchup – Titans
The Lane Titans are coming off a comeback effort against Bellevue Community College. After starting off their best-of-three series with a 12-2 loss to the Bulldogs, they responded by putting up 19 runs in their next two games, to advance and keep their championship hopes alive.
Although the Titans have not announced their starter yet, it would be hard to believe that anyone but freshmen Henry Proger would take the mound. Proger, who has 2.53 ERA with 123 strikeouts, across 89 innings, was dominant in his last appearance. Proger went 6 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits, and walking 3, while striking out 13.
Offensively the Titans will look towards the top of their lineup to Cole Klencker and Bryan Rojas. On the year, they’re batting .357 and .379, respectively, with 81 combined RBI. Kleckner is currently on an 8-game hitting streak.
Outcome – The winner of the matchup will move on to play the winner of Edmonds Community College vs. Spokane Community College. The loser will fall to the losers bracket, and play the loser of Edmonds C.C. vs. Spokane C.C. For more information about the tournament and location visit the NWAC Baseball website here.