It’s on to state for the Seaside baseball team.
A long road trip (900-plus miles, round trip) that turned into a three-day stay in Ontario was worth it for the Gulls, who defeated the Tigers 6-3 Saturday morning, in a Class 4A play-in game.
A two-run home run by Seaside’s Brayden Johnson in the sixth inning highlighted the win, the Gulls’ first post-season victory in 12 years.
The Gulls left Thursday for the Friday game in Ontario, where rained postponed the play-in game to Saturday.
The 11th-ranked Tigers finish 12-9 overall, while Seaside (11-12 overall), advances to the round of 16, where the Gulls were scheduled to play Wednesday at Henley.
In Saturday’s win, Seaside pitchers Travis Fenton and Payton Westerholm scattered eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks, while Ontario’s Seth Forsyth went the distance, allowing nine hits with seven strikeouts and a walk.
Seaside scored a run in the first inning (a double by Alex Teubner driving in Duncan Thompson), before the Tigers answered with two runs in the bottom of the second.
The Gulls came right back with two in the top of the third, with a single by Teubner scoring Gage McFadden for the go-ahead run.
After Ontario tied the game, Seaside took the lead for good in the fourth, when the Gulls loaded the bases with one out, and Fenton scored on an error. The Tigers got out of the inning without any further damage.
From there, Westerholm and the Gulls kept Ontario scoreless over the final four innings.
In the sixth, Justin Morris reached base on a bunt, and came in moments later on Johnson’s two-run homer.
McFadden, Teubner and Isaias Jantes all had two hits apiece for Seaside, which had four stolen bases.
It was Seaside’s first playoff victory since May 18, 2007, when the Gulls defeated Sweet Home 12-6 in a first round game. Seaside lost in the round of 16 at Henley, 12-4.
Wednesday’s game will mark Seaside’s first appearance in the state playoffs since 2010, when the Gulls lost a first round game at Sutherlin, 14-6.
Meanwhile, Seaside’s last play-in appearance was in 2011, a 6-4 loss at Gladstone.