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The Lions get a strong start from J.K. Kelly and a grand slam from Matt Kurtin in the win

One round into the Class 6A state baseball playoffs, West Linn is right where it wants to be.

The fifth-ranked Lions, the Three Rivers League champions, kicked off the second season in style on Monday, May 20, racing past 28th-ranked McNary 8-2 at West Linn High School. The Lions had 11 hits in the game, including three home runs paced by Matt Kurtin's first-inning grand slam. J.J. Hoover added a home run later in the game and so did Zach Bell to lead West Linn's power attack.

Jonathon Kelly was dominant on the mound for five innings before turning the game over to Brandon Alexander in the sixth. Kelly was perfect for four innings, his only blemish coming in the fifth when he hit a McNary batter.

Alexander threw a 1-2-3 sixth and Gabe Johnson closed out the game in the seventh. Johnson, after giving up a leadoff walk and a home run, put down the next three batters in order to give the Lions' pitching staff a combined one-hitter.

With the win, the Lions' fifth in their last six games, West Linn improved to 18-9 overall and advanced to face No. 12 Bend in the second round. The Lions will host the Lava Bears — 3-2 winners over South Eugene in the first round — at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at West Linn High School.

With a win in that game, West Linn would advance to the state quarterfinals on Friday, May 24. The Lions would face either fourth-ranked Mountain Valley Conference champion South Salem (21-5 overall) in Salem, or No. 20 West Salem (15-11 overall) — the fourth-place team from the MWC — at West Linn.


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