By Jimmy Zanor
@ShoreLineSports on Twitter
PORTLAND >> All Portland senior Jason Staub wanted to do was to get on base any way possible and extend the inning.
Instead, Staub made history.
Staub crushed a three-run homer that gave the Highlanders the lead for good in the third inning. It was Staub’s first career home run and sparked Portland to an 11-4 Shoreline Conference victory over Westbrook Monday afternoon at Dyer Field.
Nick Adamsons also paced the Highlanders 11-hit attack by going 3-for-3 with two RBI doubles, while Cole Ogorzalek, who was the winning pitcher, John Muskatallo and Hayden Manning had two hits apiece.
“We’re starting to hit well,” said Staub, who had five RBI’s. “The bottom of our order is starting to get things going for the top.”
Portland fell behind 2-1 but quickly tied it in the third when Ogorzalek led off with a double and Adamsons lined a single to right. Ogorzalek scored on an outfield error and with two on and two out, Staub, who had struck out against Westbrook’s hard-throwing lefthander Sam Grigo the previous inning, rocketed a fastball over the left field fence to give the Highlanders a 5-2 lead.
“I was just trying to get a two-out hit to help our team win a game,” Staub explained.
Adamsons RBI double in the fourth gave Portland a 6-4 cushion.
“I was pleased that the offense got going after a little bit of a slow start,” said Portland coach Rick Borg. “It’s kind of what I expect from our offense, more consistency through the order and we saw that today. It’s a good sign. Maybe the weather gets warm and the offense warms up also.”
The Highlanders sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run sixth inning against Knights sophomore reliever Alex Hartzell. Highlights included RBI singles by Ogorzalek and Manning, who singled over a drawn-in infield, and a two-run single by Staub.
“They put the ball in play and put pressure on us and we kind of folded under that pressure,” said Westbrook coach Derek Hanssen, now in his 10th season. “We had chances to get out of innings and we allowed extra batters to come up and that hurt us. Portland took advantage. We had a couple of extra outs and (Staub) gets a good pitch to hit and puts it over the fence and the game really changes on that home run.”
Ronnie Oldham and Dave Hermanson had two hits apiece, while Dylan Engles had an RBI single for Westbrook (3-2).
Portland starter Jake Strong wiggled out of a bases loaded situation in the third, getting an infield pop out and his seventh strikeout.
But after Hermanson led off the fourth with a double, Borg brought in Ogorzalek and the junior righthander was sensational. Ogorzalek allowed just one hit and struck out three while blanking Westbrook over the final three innings.
“Cole’s our throwback to the ‘50s,” said Borg. “He’s a can-do-anything type of kid. Sometimes we need him to catch, and he’s an excellent catcher, but sometimes we need him to pitch also. We try to use him where we most need him.”
Portland improved to 3-1.
“We’ve played some of the better teams in the league,” said Borg. “Westbrook is going to give some teams a lot of trouble in the Shoreline. They’re good and they’re well coached. We’ll see where we can go from here.”
Said Staub, “We’re hoping to make states again and make a pretty deep run this year.”