The Knappa Loggers are making their march to a three-peat look easy, as they scored a 9-1 win Friday over Regis in a Class 2A baseball quarterfinal.
The game was moved to Ridgefield, Washington to avoid soggy field conditions in Knappa.
Winners of 10 straight playoff games since their loss to Burns in the 2016 championship, the Loggers will be at home Tuesday (4:30 p.m.) to play Umpqua Valley Christian, with top-ranked Knappa the favorite to make its fifth consecutive trip to the title game, and fourth championship in five years.
Knappa jumped on Regis starter Tyler Voltin right away, as Tristin Wallace had an infield hit, Shawn Lackey reached on an error, and Eli Takalo’s single to center scored Wallace. Lackey sprinted home on a ground ball by Logan Bartlett.
The 2-0 lead was more than enough for Wallace on the mound.
Knappa’s starting pitcher threw 85 pitches over six innings, allowing three hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Logan Flues pitched the seventh.
“It was Tristin’s best performance of the season,” said Knappa coach Jeff Miller. “He had seven strikeouts over the first three innings. And we were able score a couple runs in the first inning, which is always nice in a playoff game, because it sort of settles everybody down, and you’re able to take a breath.”
After a scoreless second inning, the Loggers tacked on three runs in the third, highlighted by doubles from Takalo and the first of two by Ryson Patterson.
With one run already in, Devin Hoover drew a walk to load the bases, and Wallace helped his cause with a two-out single to score two runs for a 5-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Patterson had an RBI single and a pair of Regis errors eventually led to a steal of home plate by Luke Goozee to make it 7-0.
Regis helped the Loggers with four errors, while Knappa finished with eight stolen bases.
The Loggers added two runs in the bottom of the sixth, all without a hit, as they took advantage of one hit batter and three straight walks.
Knappa’s victory sets up a semifinal with an old playoff foe, Umpqua Valley Christian, which defeated Reedsport 8-1 in another Friday quarterfinal, scoring all eight runs (on two hits) in the first inning.
The Loggers defeated the Monarchs (at Umpqua) in the semifinals in Knappa’s march to the 2010 state title.
In 2009, Umpqua Valley beat Knappa 10-0 in the quarterfinals, and the Monarchs defeated the Loggers 8-6 in a 2008 quarterfinal at Knappa.
“And (the No. 4 seed Monarchs) have everybody available to pitch,” Miller said. “Their top two guys could be No. 1 pitchers for anybody, and they’re deep through No. 4. So they’re deeper than we are in that area.
“They’ve got the same coach, Dave York, who has built that program, which is sort of the gold standard of programs.”
After two straight losses to North Douglas earlier this month, the Monarchs defeated North Douglas 14-1, the first of six straight wins in which they have outscored the opposition 69-3.
The Loggers, however, are unmatched in victories, at any level.
Knappa has won 20 in a row, and the Loggers are 62-1 over their last 63 games. Over the last three years, Knappa’s only loss to an Oregon 2A team was to Nestucca, April 18, 2017.