The Pioneers overcome suspect defensive play with 27 hits in three games

OREGON CITY - Oregon City diamondmen swept a hard fought three-game series from Lakeridge last week, but the wins did not come easily.

The Pioneers committed eight errors and gave up nine unearned runs in the series. But they put the ball in play often and rallied around their bats to pull out the victories, winning 10-4, 11-10 and 5-4 in nine innings.

'Our defense has been pretty horrible and our pitching hasn't been that great,' said Oregon City coach J.J. Winkle. 'In 10 games we've made 21 errors. In 61 innings, our pitchers had 48 walks and 17 hit batsmen….

'Fortunately we've had kids swing the bats.'

The Pioneers stung the ball for 27 hits in last week's series with the Pacers.

Last Friday's 5-4 extra-inning win at Lakeridge was a barnburner.

The Pioneers scored a single tally in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 3-3 and bring about the extra innings. Both teams scored single runs in the eighth, and the Pioneers scored the game-winner in the top of the ninth.

'Friday was a good game for us,' said Winkle. 'We got behind, but we didn't give up. We kept fighting and clawing and scratching. We kept battling and found a way to win.'

Sophomore Jordan Nelson plated the game-winner. Ryan Zornado led off the ninth with a base hit, moved to second on a sacrifice by senior Dylan Foley, and scored on Nelson's base rap to right-center.

Relief pitcher Ryan Huntting made it three-up and three-down in the bottom of the ninth, and the Pioneers celebrated the hard fought win.

Nelson also came through in the top of the seventh, when his sacrifice fly on an 0-2 pitch plated pinch runner Josh LaRue to keep the game alive.

But Nelson wasn't Oregon City's only offensive hero.

Senior Ryan Martin (2-for-4) stepped to the plate with two down in the eighth and blasted a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield fence to put Oregon City up 4-3.

Leif Gambee (3-for-5, 2 doubles, one RBI) led the Pioneers to a 10-6 edge in hitting. Alex Gay (2-for-3) made contact for a pair of singles.

Brad Tinsley pitched the first 6-1/3 innings, striking out four and walking four.

Ryan Zornado (2-for-4, 3 RBI) came through with the key hit in the 11-10 win over the Pacers.

With one out in the sixth, Gay drew a walk. Pinch runner Thomas Coyle moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored the game-winner from second on Zornado's base hit to right.

'We'd been hitting the ball hard all game, and they had their outfielders back,' said Winkle.

The Pioneers scored 10 of their 11 runs in the first two innings, when they hammered out six hits, including three home runs and a three-bagger.

Gambee (3-for-4) hit a solo shot and a triple and score twice.

Gay hammered a grand slam in the second; Foley had a two-run home run in the first.

The Pioneers committed four errors and five of the Pacers' 10 runs were unearned.

The Pioneers scored runs in six different innings in their 10-4 win over Lakeridge, and the Pacers helped Oregon City out, committing five errors.

Martin (2-for-5) headed a seven-hit Pioneer offensive attack with a solo home run and a double.

Gambee had three stolen bases and scored three runs, reaching base on a single, a walk, a fielder's choice and a Pacer error.

Huntting picked up the win, striking out two and walking four in 6-2/3 innings.

Gay came in with the bases loaded and two down in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side with a flyout to Gambee in right field.

The wins left Oregon City (7-3, 4-1) tied with Clackamas (8-3, 4-1) and Lake Oswego (6-5, 4-1) in first place in the Three Rivers League.

'I think we're in a good spot,' said Winkle. 'Our split with Clackamas before spring break did a lot for our confidence….

'But it's a tough league, and it's tough to beat anyone three times in a row. I think our goal now is to try to win two-out-of-three every week.'

The Pioneers were to play Putnam (6-4, 0-2) in a three game series this week. They play at Putnam this afternoon and at home on Friday.

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