Royals dominate on mound and at plate in win over Sandy

by: KRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Evan Jones connected for a solo home run in the fifth inning, in Barlow's 7-0 win over the Sandy Pioneers

The Barlow Royals have struggled to hold leads late in games this summer. So, on Sunday, in the rubber match of their three-game series against the No. 4 seeded Sandy Pioneers in the first round of the Oregon Independent Baseball Association playoffs, the Royals scored enough runs to ensure they were in the clear.

Evan Jones and Alex Richards each hit home runs, but with the way Cameron Hawkins was pitching, any lead was safe. Hawkins threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout, as No. 5 seeded Barlow completed the mild upset, winning 7-0 at Barlow High School and advancing to the round of 16.

The Royals will face No. 1 seeded Jesuit 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hare Field.

From the very first inning, Barlow, which recorded 16 hits on Sunday, was in control, on the mound and at the plate.

After a sacrifice fly by Jones, Richards put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-run home run, giving the Royals an instantaneous 3-0 lead.

From that point on, Hawkins brutalized the Pioneer offense.

He retired Sandy in order in the bottom of the first, striking out two and setting the tone for the evening.

Hawkins didn't allow a hit after the third inning and struck out nine while walking five.

In the second, third and fourth innings, the Pioneers were able to move runners into scoring position, but Hawkins worked out of the jams by using an arsenal of pitches to keep the hitters off-balance. He recorded two strike outs in each of the first four innings.

Sandy stranded eight runners, including five in scoring position.

Hawkin's performance highlighted a weekend dominated by Barlow's arms.

In the opener of the three-game series, a 1-1 tie was taken into the ninth, before Sandy eventually won on a walk-off safety squeeze. In a must-win game two on Saturday, Jones allowed just two runs before the 10-run rule was imposed in the fifth inning in a 14-2 win.

And Hawkins provided the grand finale.

“The pitching did a great job,” Barlow coach Craig Webster said. “We didn't give them anything. That's what we think our pitching can do for us.”

Sandy's pitching, however, could not stymie the Royals offense.

Starting pitcher Justin Adams lasted four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out two.

Barlow put runners on base in every inning.

The bottom of the order produced two runs in the fourth inning, extending the Royals lead to 5-0. Then, in the fifth, Jones connected with a ball that probably landed in Sandy. His solo home run, and second RBI of the game, made the score 6-0.

Every batter but the nine-hitter recorded a hit. Lead-off hitter Nic Meyer led the way by going 3 for 4 with two-runs scored.

Alex Pemberton was 2 for 5 with a double and a RBI.

With production throughout the order and RBIs from four separate players, Barlow was protected against a late-inning collapse, something that's been too frequent this summer.

The Royals have struggled to finish games, and after Friday's extra-innings loss, it was clear the issue hadn't been resolved.

It might be the biggest obstacle in their attempt to upset Jesuit.

We're trying to get over the hump,” Webster said. “We got to finish.”

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