The Pioneers face another stiff challenge this week, battling Lake Oswego in three games

by: RYAN LA GRANGE - Oregon City outfielder Dillon Riley (14) leaps high to steal an extra-base hit from cross-river rival West Linn in the Pioneers 5-1 win over the Lions.After getting swept by Clackamas in their opening series of the Three Rivers League baseball season, the Oregon City Pioneers bounced back with a sweep of cross-river rival West Linn, beating the Lions in last week’s series, 5-1, 10-3 and 4-1.

“We talked with the kids about how it was important to have a great week, and they came through,” said Oregon City assistant coach Mike Lord. “They were focussed all week. They won all three games, and they did it as a team. I was very proud of the Pioneers.”

The Lions put up the biggest fight in last Friday’s 4-1 Pioneer win. The game was a scoreless tie through the first four innings, and it wasn’t until the top of the sixth that the Pioneers put the winning run on the scoreboard.

Oregon City struck first, scoring a single tally in the top of the fifth. Bo McClintock (2-for-3) doubled, advanced on a groundout by Dillon Riley, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jack Powell.

Jake Phillips scored the game-winner in the top of the sixth, reaching on a base hit, advancing on Clay Reece’s hit-and-run and a passed ball, and stealing home.

The Lions got a run back in the bottom of the sixth, but Oregon City scored twice in the top of the seventh to put the game on ice. McClintock and Riley led off the seventh with base hits, advanced on Powell’s sacrifice bunt, and scored with two down on a two-run single by pinch hitter Austin Johnson.

Jake Tipton pitched the first 6-1/3 innings, striking out seven, walking one and scattering four hits. Luke Ehli was sharp in short relief. He came in with one out and the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side with eight pitches, getting batters to fly out to Terrel Hood in centerfield, and to ground out to Phillips at second.

“We called it a great Pioneer win,” said Lord. “We played 14 kids, and they all contributed in some way.”

The Pioneers’ 5-1 win was another game that was close until the final innings. Ehli plated Rilyn Lewchuk with a two-out double in the first inning and the score remained 1-0 until the top of the sixth, when the Pioneers staged a four-run rally.

Oregon City scored the four runs on three hits, two walks and a Lion error. The key hits were a two-run single by Powell, a run-scoring single by Hood, and a RBI-base on balls by Riley.

Lewchuk pitched a complete game, striking out two, walking three and yielding just three hits.

The Pioneers had their bats working in their 10-3 win over the Lions, as they stung the ball for 12 hits.

“We got up early,” Lord said. “It was our best offensive output of the year.”

Big sticks for the Pioneers were Ehli (2-for-4), with a two-run home run and three RBI; Phillips (3-for-4, double, 2 runs scored), Lewchuk (3-for-4, double, 3 runs) and McClintock (2-for-3, 2 RBI).

Tyler Moon pitched the first 5-1/3 innings, striking out three and walking no one, while giving up four hits and three earned runs. Ehli pitched shut-out ball in 1-2/3 innings of relief.

The Pioneers (9-7, 3-3) were to meet sixth-ranked Lake Oswego (11-6, 4-2) in a three-game series this week, playing the Lakers on the road this afternoon and hosting the Lakers on Friday.

“It’ll be a big week for us,” said Lord. “I think Clackamas has a lock on first place, having won their series with us and Lake Oswego. I think it will come down to Lake Oswego and Oregon City battling for second and third.”

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