Indians bite the bullet
- John Denny
- Clackamas Review - Sports
OC stuns No. 1 Roseburg, winning 2-1, in Roseburg
The Oregon City Pioneers' continued on their incredible historic run on May 29, knocking off top-ranked Roseburg 2-1, at Roseburg, in a semifinal game of the Class 6A state high school baseball playoffs.
The win advanced the Pioneers to a state baseball final for only the third time in school history. Oregon City teams made the championship final in 1951, when they lost to Grant 5-3, and again in 1996, when they lost to Mazama 2-1.
The Pioneers were decided underdogs in the May 29 semifinal, sporting an 18-11 record, to Roseburg's record of 24-2. The Indians had averaged better than eight runs a game, to their opponents' 1.7. And the Indians went with their ace pitcher, Jared Priestley, who entered the contest with an 8-0 record.
The Pioneers beat the top-ranked Indians with small-ball, and with a stellar performance by their pitcher, junior right-hander Rilyn Lewchuk. Lewchuk (4 strikeouts) allowed only three hits, in a complete game.
The Pioneers reached Priestley (7 strikeouts) for five hits, and they made their hits count.
'Our game plan was to put as many balls in play as we could and make them play defense, and that's what we did,' said Oregon City assistant coach Mike Lord. 'The kids executed our game plan and did everything we asked of them....
'We put the ball in play, and Roseburg couldn't make the plays.'
Oregon City senior Jon Reece drew a walk to lead off the game. He advanced on a sacrifice fly by Clay Reece and scored, with two down, on a single to left by senior Louis Wolf.
Roseburg got the run back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring on back-to-back doubles by David Irvine and Josh Graham.
The Indians blinked in the top of the fifth, and it proved costly. Junior outfielder Cary Swalwell reached on a swinging bunt in front of the plate. Jon Reece moved Swalwell to second with a sacrifice bunt.
Swalwell advanced to third when Priestley made an error on Clay Reece's swinging bunt down the first-base line. Priestley made a diving attempt at the ball, and it deflected off his glove.
Marc Morris followed with a dribbler down the third-base line, driving in Swalwell for the game-winner on a fielder's choice.
And the Pioneers hung on for the 2-1 upset.
Lewchuk allowed only four baserunners, as the Indians either popped the ball up, or hit it right at defending Oregon City infielders.
'Lewchuk really dominated on the mound,' Lord said.