Grizzlies trample Lions

Sam Gaviglio insists he didn't have his best stuff. Then again, you have to consider the source.

Gaviglio increased his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 34 with a complete-game shutout as the Grizzlies eased past the St. Helens Lions 4-0 in the second round of the OSAA Class 5A state baseball playoffs Tuesday at North Mountain Park.

Ashland's senior pitcher allowed just two hits and struck out nine with one walk to help the fourth-ranked Grizzlies (25-2) advance to the state quarterfinals, where they'll face ninth-ranked North Eugene (15-12) on Friday in Eugene.

Max Gordon scored from third when Owen Baldrica beat out a St. Helens double play attempt in the third inning. That was enough for Gaviglio, who allowed just two St. Helens base-runners to advance beyond first base to remain unbeaten on the season (10-0). None reached third.

"He's a great pitcher," Ashland head coach Don Senestraro said. "Sometimes we get a bad rap that maybe our league isn't tough, but he looked the same to me than he did against Mazama, Klamath Union, Crater and Eagle Point.

"He is just a monster on the mound."

Gaviglio was less impressed.

"I didn't feel my best, but a win's a win," he said, his arm packed in ice after wrapping up his fifth shutout and eighth complete-game of the season.

The Grizzlies added two insurance runs in the fifth and another in the sixth. In the fifth, Lewis Sebrell scored on Luke Jannusch's RBI single and Jannusch came home on a Garrett Tygerson double.

In the sixth, Ian Kendall led off with a double and scored on Nick Hall's single.

Besides that, St. Helens starter Matt Lokken was solid. Relying mostly on a loopy curve, the big senior struck out four and walked two in 5 1-3 innings. He did allow nine hits, however, including a triple by Gaviglio.

"In our conference all we see are slow curves so it was kind of different to see a fast curve," said Jannusch, who made two nice plays at third base to help hold down St. Helens. "It was just kind of the first-game jitters. I think we're going to pick up our game later on in the tournament. We didn't play up to our potential, but we played decent."

Added Senestraro: "The teams that are (in the playoffs) have good pitching, and that's why they're here," Senestraro said.

— — Ashland's Garrett Tygerson leaps and catches a throw to first base during the Grizzlies game against St. Helens, May 20, 2008.

Sebrell went 2-for-2 to lead a balanced offensive attack by the Grizzlies. All but one player in Ashland's lineup came through with a hit against seventh-ranked St. Helens, which suffered its first shutout of the season to end up 20-10.

The Lions' best chance to score &

and take a lead &

came in the third inning, when Alex Anderson walked then stole second on Tyson Leland's strikeout. That brought up St. Helens leadoff hitter Jared Chase with two outs. Gaviglio threw three straight balls to fall behind in the count 3-1, but Chase watched strike two and waved at strike three to end the Lions' most serious threat.

"We just played a little scared, a little intimidated for whatever reason," St. Helens coach Tim Prosser said, "and I think most of that is attributed to (Gaviglio)."

Now, Ashland's takes its 18-game winning streak to North Eugene, where they'll face a Highlanders team that is coming off a 1-0, 10-inning upset win over third-ranked Corvallis.

The length of that second-round classic could make life tougher on the Highlanders, who watched ace Tim Keller hold the Spartans scoreless in 8 2-3 innings of work. North Eugene finally broke the scoreless tie with two outs in the top of the 10th when Tyler Dumilieu scored from third on a throwing error. If Keller can't go, the Highlanders will have to find somebody else in a likely matchup with Ashland's Charlie Sebrell.

As far as the road trip goes, Jannusch says the Grizzlies don't mind.

— — Ashland's Max Gordon rounds third base and goes on to score the Grizzlies first point in the third inning against the St. Helens Lions, May 20, 2008.

"Personally, I almost like playing on the road better because there's not so much expectations of you and it's kind of more laid back," he said. "I think most of the team feels the same way, too. We treat it like our house and our field."

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Ashland 001 021x"" 4 9 2

Lokken, Mood (6) and Anderson; Gaviglio and Sebrell. W - Gaviglio (10-0). L - Lokken. 2B - A: Tygerson, Kendall. 3B - A: Gaviglio.

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

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