REDMOND — Tyler Ross thought about bunting.
Afterward, the Ridgeview junior looked back on that second at-bat, recalling that thought and chuckling.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t,” he said.
After smacking a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the first inning, Ross stepped to the plate in the third and belted a solo homer over the left-center fence.
“The ball just looked huge,” said Ross, who finished 4 for 4 with a double to go along with his two home runs Wednesday. “It’s just a great feeling. It’s why I play.”
Ross finished with four RBIs and scored a run, guiding Ridgeview, seeded sixth in the 16-team bracket, to a 9-8 victory over No. 11 Cascade in the first round of the Class 4A baseball state playoffs.
“Unbelievable. Unbelievable,” Ridgeview coach Josh Davis said of Ross’ performance. “What a day.”
Ross’ three-run homer, which carried over the center fielder’s head, capped a four-run first inning for the Ravens, who tacked on another run in the second to jump ahead 5-0 on the Cougars from Turner.
Cascade, however, whittled Ridgeview’s advantage to three runs in the top of the third with back-to-back two-out RBI singles, and a three-run fourth inning helped Cascade get to within a run at 6-5.
But in the fifth, Ridgeview’s Mitch Springer scored on a pass ball. Right behind him was Ross, who caught the Cougars in a lull and scored with nobody at the plate.
After both teams exchanged a run in the sixth inning, Cascade scored twice in the top of the seventh to make it a 9-8 game with two outs. But the Cougars’ rally was halted, as Ridgeview pitcher Dakota Schaumburg induced a ground-ball out to polish off a complete-game victory.
“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t (on edge in the seventh inning),” Davis said. “It’s good for us to hang tight and get that win, to suck it up and get it done.”
Springer was 3 for 4 for Ridgeview, Kahl Malott went 2 for 2, Collin Runge drove in two runs, and Schaumburg struck out five in seven innings on the mound.
“It’s great for a kid to tough it up like that when you don’t have your best stuff and you can still manage a win,” Davis said Schaumburg. “That’s great for Dakota’s confidence, great for us as a team. Moving forward, I think that only helps us.”
Sutter Matson was 2 for 3 with an RBI to pace Cascade, Matt Warden singled and drove in two runs, and Cota Wakem had a hit and an RBI.
“It’s really big,” Davis said the win, which is the first postseason victory in the program’s two-year history and came on the heels of a stretch where the Ravens had dropped four of five games. “To start the way we started, to not be playing our best baseball towards the end, that’s huge. This was important for us. It was important for our kids and important for the program. I’m very happy for them.”
The win earns Ridgeview a quarterfinal matchup on Friday at No. 3 Baker, which defeated Estacada 18-7 on Wednesday.
“We’ve just got to play our game,” Ross said. “Not play down to another team’s level. Hit the ball. Make fundamental plays.”
—Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com.