The Philomath High School baseball team completed a series sweep of Newport on Saturday with a 7-3 victory to win the Oregon West Conference title outright.
The Warriors finished first with a 13-2 record with Stayton settling for second at 12-3. Newport ends up third at 9-6. Philomath ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak against the toughest competition in the league — taking two of three from Stayton before sweeping the Cubs.
Philomath (14-9 overall) will now prepare for the Class 4A state playoffs. As conference champion, the Warriors earned an automatic berth. Philomath has scheduled a tuneup game for 5 p.m. Thursday at home against Blanchet Catholic, a top team in 3A. The two teams were supposed to play back in mid-April but wet weather got in the way.
Philomath’s seeding for the playoffs has not been determined. The Warriors are currently No. 10 in the OSAA rankings, which don’t freeze until the end of the day on Monday.
Newport got into a huge hole early against Philomath in the late-morning game on the coast Saturday. Cubs starter Jonathan Fritz gave up five runs on 26 pitches and didn’t record an out before he was taken off the mound.
Philomath’s Cameron Ordway opened the game by taking one for the team and then Fritz issued three straight walks to Carson Gerding, Mason Stearns and Alek Russell — that third one forcing in a run. Ty May followed with a double to right field to drive in two. David Griffith then hit a two-run double to left to make it 5-0.
Newport responded with a run in the bottom half but Philomath added two to its total in the top of the second. Ordway was hit by a pitch for the second time in two innings, Gerding walked and Stearns hit a one-run single for a 6-1 lead. Russell flew out to center field and Gerding made it home for another run but the inning ended with Stearns trying to score.
Philomath didn’t score the rest of the way and Newport’s only other runs came in the bottom of the seventh. Ordway threw a complete game at pitcher for Philomath, allowing seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
The Warriors had just five hits as a team scattered among five players. Fritz went 2 for 3 for the Cubs (16-7, 9-6).