Grizzlies roar into playoffs

After pitching the last two innings of Game — and first three of Game 2, Charlie Sebrell was asked by Ashland High head coach Don Senestraro to take the mound one last time. Sebrell wasn't sure he could do it. His coach was.

The way the Grizzlies have been pitching lately, was there ever any doubt?

Three pitchers combined to throw two more shutouts, giving the Ashland High baseball team five in its last six games, as the Grizzlies steamrolled over Mazama and into the state playoffs with a pair of 9-0 Southern Sky Conference wins Saturday at North Mountain Park.

Gus Gaviglio pitched five innings of four-hit ball to earn the win in Game — and Sebrell allowed three hits in the first four innings of Game 2 to pickup that win, as Ashland (16-10, 10-6) completed a remarkable turnaround from a 3-6 SSC start to earn its first trip to the postseason since 2004.

Mazama also finished 10-6 in league play, but the Grizzlies snared the league's second and final playoff berth by virtue of their 3-1 advantage in head-to-head games.

"It feels awesome," said Ashland senior second baseman Tysin Senestraro, who was 5-for-8 at the plate on the day, including 4-for-4 in Game 2. "I was afraid this might be my last game, but no. We played awesome together."

The Grizzlies, who finished tied for second (Crater won the SSC) in the final league standings, now cruise into the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak, having allowed just one run in their last 43 innings. Their first playoff game since this year's seniors were freshmen will be against Roosevelt, May 22 in Portland. The Roughriders tied with Cleveland for the Portland Interscholastic Conference championship, but lost the head-to-head series 3-2 to settle for the league's No. 2 seed.

"For me, it's big butterflies because I've never been to the playoffs in high school," said Gaviglio (6-3), who came through for the Grizzlies on both offense and defense. "It just feels great because all this hard work that I put in is getting repaid. I just feel like what I did in the weight room, what I did in December in the cages is finally paying off."

In Game 1, Ashland scored two runs on three hits in the first inning to take a quick 2-0 lead, but it might as well have been 34-0 with Gaviglio on the hill. The senior, who hasn't allowed a run in his last three starts, struck out five and walked one before coming out with the Grizzlies comfortably ahead, 7-0.

Justin Meza went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Gaviglio went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead Ashland's offense, which had 23 hits on the day.

Sebrell cleaned up, setting up a winner-take-all Game 2.

The Vikings and starting pitcher Larry Wagner held Ashland at bay through the first two innings, but Ashland broke the game open in the third with a four-run blitz capped by Gaviglio's two-run double to left.

Mazama had one last chance to save its season in the fifth, when Kris Blake walked to load the bases against Ashland reliever Sam Gaviglio. That brought up Wagner, who had a single in his first at-bat. But with the pressure on, the Vikings' No. 5 hitter grounded an 0-1 pitch to Ashland shortstop Owen Baldrica, who flipped to Senestraro for the inning-ending fielder's choice.

The Vikings finished the day 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position; Ashland was 13-for-30.

"We had some pretty good pitching, huh?" Don Senestraro said. "And defense, again, you see today everything they'd hit we'd gobble it up like it's food."

Ashland added four more runs on four singles to all but clinch it in the sixth. Besides Senestraro's hitting exhibition, Lewis Sebrell finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Max Gordon went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.

Sam Gaviglio struck out Blake looking to end the game. He and Charlie Sebrell combined to pitch a five-hitter.

"It's one of the best feelings I've ever had," Charlie Sebrell said. "I'm just really happy we did it for the seniors. Most of these seniors, I don't know if they've ever been in the playoffs. It was all for the seniors."

Actually, only one of Ashland's five seniors have played for a high school playoff team in any sport &

Meza, on the '04 baseball team. The other four &

Senestraro, Gus Gaviglio, Sheldon Cotts and Jake Halverson &

will be making their postseason debuts.

"These guys are my family and the more time I spend with them, that just makes my year even better," Tysin Senestraro said.

The lack of playoff experience is no excuse to be satisfied, added their head coach, who believes the Grizzlies have the talent to keep their winning streak going, in the first round and beyond.

"I told them (after the game) that I was very proud of it, I knew they could do it, but the job's not done," Don Senestraro said. "We beat some teams that are going to these playoffs &

Willamette's there, Summit's there. Don't be complacent with just making the playoffs, let's go and try and do some damage there."


Mazama 000 000 0 — 0 5 4

Ashland 203 202 x — 9 10 1

Stratton and Reinhard; G. Gaviglio, C. Sebrell (6) and L. Sebrell. W &

G. Gaviglio (6-3). L &

Stratton. 2B &

A: Meza, G. Gaviglio.


Mazama 000 000 0 — 0 5 4

Ashland 004 104 x — 9 13 0

Wagner and Stratton; C. Sebrell, S. Gaviglio (5) and L. Sebrell. W &

C. Sebrell. L &

Wagner. 2B &

M: Holms; A: Senestraro, G. Gaviglio.

— — Gus Gaviglio slides into third base in the first game of Saturday's double header against Mazama. Although he was thrown out, his hit brought in two teammates contributing to the Grizzlies' two 9-0 wins and qualification for the playoffs.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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