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Big innings pace Saints to pair of easy wins

Mt. Hood CC plays for first place at home Thursday against Linn-Benton


by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Mt. Hoods Jake Thran tries to escape a run down on the third-base line Thursday against Lane CC.Mt. Hood CC first baseman Jake Thran just wanted to make contact when he dug in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning against Lane Community College. He made contact – and sent the ball halfway to Washington.

Thran’s base-clearing grand slam blew open an already lopsided game and led the Saints to 13-0 victory on Thursday. The game was scheduled to go nine innings, but the mercy rule turned it into a seven-inning affair.

“Our approach in that situation is it won’t take much to score a run. We are just trying to put a quality swing on a pitch,” Mt. Hood coach Bryan Donohue said. “When that’s your approach that is when something big can happen.”

The four-run blow delivered by Thran, which landed 25 or 30 feet beyond the outfield fence, was part of an eight-run inning for the Saints. Mt. Hood had worked five singles, a walk and a sacrifice bunt before Thran came up. After Thran’s bomb, a single by Shea Coates and a few Lane errors led to another Saints’ run to make it an 11-0 game.

In the sixth inning, Mt. Hood center fielder Ryan Degner piled on the Titans by blasting a two-run home run.

Degner scored three runs and reached base in all four plate appearances. Thran went 3-for-4 and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

“What we had been lacking, up to this point, was timely hits,” Donohue said. “It started with the team game, then it just exploded. We made good swing decisions and didn’t do them any favors, and we stayed aggressive. Any time they made a mistake, we made them pay for it.”

Mt. Hood pitcher Eric Huson quieted Lane’s bats from the first pitch until the last, throwing a complete-game three-hitter and allowing just one unearned run.

The 13-0 win was the Saints’ largest triumph of the season, and the Titans were not particularly happy about it. In Game 2 of the doubleheader, Lane jumped on Mt. Hood right away and took a 3-0 lead in the second inning.

“As soon as that second game starts, if you lose focus, that is when it bites you,” Donohue said. “It’s hard to sweep a doubleheader because regardless of how you play in the first game, you start over at 0-0.”

The Saints brushed off the slow start and again starting pound the ball. Degner drove in the first Mt. Hood run in the bottom of the third with a deep double in the gap that brought in Logan Grindy to open a three-run inning.

Degner broke the 3-3 tie in the fourth inning when he laced a line drive that carried over the head of the Lane center fielder for another double and two more RBIs.

Behind Degner’s hot bat, the Saints scored 11 unanswered runs to win 11-3. In the two games, Degner had four hits, five RBIs and got on base seven times.

Sandy High's Marcus Blackmon went 0 for 4 at the plate, but scored twice and collected an RBI with a walk.

Saturday's doubleheader with Linn-Benton was rained out and rescheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at Oslund Field.