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Pioneers start conference season in impressive fashion

Eager for the opening of the Mount Hood Conference, the Sandy baseball team pounded out 10 hits in defeating David Douglas 8-0 on Wednesday April 4 at Sandy High School.

'The guys looked good and were real focused and excited for the league opener,' coach Garet Luebbert said. 'They executed well, played hard and that was a great way to open league.'

Senior pitcher Eugene Wright, starting his second game of the season, went the distance and allowed three hits while striking out nine. Wright also added two hits and stole a base in the victory.

'Coming into the game, I didn't know what to expect (from Douglas),' Wright said. 'We were very relaxed as a team so I am very happy with the outcome.'

Sandy opened the scoring, exploding for six runs in the second inning. With one out and two runners on base, senior Ryan Trosko hit a single to right driving in the Pioneers first two runs. Sandy had six singles in the inning and sent 12 batters to the plate in that timespan.

Leading 4-0 with two out in the second, Senior Jake Fenwick singled to center, scoring one. Fenwick then stole second and third base, before scoring on an infield single by senior Jordan Elliott.

Elliott led the Pioneers with three hits and senior Ryan Miller added two of his own. Trosko and senior Joe D'Aboy each drove in two runs in the victory.

'We were pounding the ball in the second,' Leubbert said. 'Its always nice to get those big innings - you just hope they're on your side instead of the opponents'.'

After the second, Wright settled into a groove and retired 15 of the next 18 batters, striking out five of them in the process. Sandy added one in the third, on a sacrifice by senior Joe D'Aboy, and one in the sixth off a triple by Miller. The Pioneers pounded out 10 hits and every starter reached base in the game.

'I didn't know how they hit the ball but we went out there and got the big inning and that always helps you relax on the mound,' Wright said. 'After that inning I could relax and just throw my game and I think it showed.'

Leubbert said the key to this game was that his team came in relaxed and ready to get league play off to a good start.

'Everyone just looked relaxed and was ready for this game,' Leubbert said. 'We hit the ball well and (Wright) seemed to get stronger as the game went on.'

The Pioneers committed two errors, neither affecting the game, and allowed no Douglas runner past second base. Wright held the Scots to only five fly ball outs in the entire game.

'(Wright) threw a heck of a game considering he's only thrown in two other games (this season),' Leubbert said. 'We try to keep the kids innings down, so for him to pitch a complete game was very impressive.'

Wright had complete control of the game, throwing only 74 pitches and walking only one for the victory.

'I think this is the best game I have ever pitched,' Wright said. 'Everything just flowed and I knew that the guys were behind me and they were getting the outs.'

Next game: The Pioneers will make up their rained-out April 9 game vs. Hood River on Thursday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m. in Sandy.