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Red-hot Pioneers thrash Centennial Eagles

by: Michael Cade, Sandy pitcher Ryan Miller on the mound vs. the Eagles.

GRESHAM - If you feel any tremors in East County the next few days, be advised that it's probably not an earthquake.

It's probably just the Sandy baseball team (4-3, 2-0), stomping through the Mount Hood Conference like an early-season juggernaut.

Fresh off an 8-0 win vs. David Douglas on April 4, the Pioneers traveled to Gresham and pounded rival Centennial 13-5.

It's worth noting that the same Centennial team - a talented unit across the board -was picked by more than one Portland-area publication win the 2007 conference title.

The Pioneers showed they meant business early.

Sandy put three runs on the board in the first inning alone, and that early-game outburst kept Centennial on its heels.

The Eagles did manage to produce a late-game scare for the Pioneers, though, as Troy Harris, Beau Day, Eddie Burton and Jason Hannan combined to score four sixth-inning runs.

But whatever momentum the Eagles might have gained was quickly shattered by Sandy's own scoring explosion in the bottom of the inning.

The Pioneers put together a five-run spurt to make the final margin 13-5.

'I knew they'd be a scrappy bunch coming in,' Centennial coach Brent Child said. 'They brought the sticks.'

Bringing the sticks the hardest was Sandy's power slugger Chris Houle, who belted out two home runs on the evening while producing five RBIs.

Houle's teammate - senior Ryan Trosko - delivered a home run of his own as Sandy put on an offensive clinic.

The Pioneers impressed defensively, too, as pitcher Ryan Miller surrendered only one run and struck out five before leaving the mound in the sixth inning.

Miller also produced a double and a triple for the Pioneers when lining up at bat.

Asked if he preferred defense over offense, Miller humbly suggested that he was comfortable playing either.

'I just go out there and do my best at both,' he said.

Count Sandy coach Garet Luebbert among those who are impressed by what the Arizona transfer has brought to Sandy's program.

'It's too early for me to say what his strengths are,' Luebbert said, 'but he definitely excels in all areas of the game. He's a good kid.'

The red-hot Pioneers seemed to be keeping their fast start in perspective.

'It feels great,' senior Jake Fenwick said. 'That's about all I can say.'