Pioneers split the series with a 5-4 road win Friday

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Kevin Frank dives back to first base during Tuesdays home loss to Wilsonville. Wilsonville spoiled Sandy’s senior day with a 7-5 win over the Pioneers on Tuesday, halting their winning streak at nine games. Sandy outplayed the Wildcats for most of the game, but one shaky half-inning in the fifth rendered those efforts futile.

“They did some things right, we did some things wrong,” Sandy coach Garet Luebbert said. “It was a little bit of everything not going our way in that inning. Under the circumstances and overall, I thought it was a good game for us.”

Sandy might have guessed the fifth inning was going to be one to forget almost immediately. With the game tied at 1-1, Wilsonville’s No. 8 hitter Ryan Howe led off by lifting a skyscraping home run over the left field fence just inside the foul pole.

Two batters later, leadoff man Tanner Shipley hit a slicing fly ball down the right field line. The ball landed about a foot inside in foul line and rolled into the corner, giving Shipley a stand-up triple. Sandy pitcher Justin Adams hit the following batter on the first pitch and intentionally walked the next to set up a force play at every base. The strategy didn’t work when Colton Muir bounced to Sandy third baseman Carson Dwyre who first looked to get to the out at home. With the speedy Shipley running from third, Dwyre had no chance to throw him out and had to go to first.

With two outs, Adams got a much-needed ground ball from Wilsonville’s Gunner Pollman that could have ended the inning, but the throw from shortstop skimmed off the glove of first baseman Sam Kalar and rolled to the fence. Both base runners scored. Pollman then stole second and scored on a single to polish off a five-run inning, making it a 6-1 Wilsonville advantage.

The Pioneers fought back with two runs in their half of the fifth, thanks to a Blake Robison run-scoring line drive to center. They pulled to within one in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run single from Adams. However, the Wildcats tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh and Sandy went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Adams was the only Pioneer with two hits. Bryce Tilton had an RBI-double off the left field fence and Robison added two walks to his RBI-single.

The Pioneers approached most of their at-bats with the mentality that they were going to force Wilsonville’s pitchers to throw strikes. That selective mindset was largely successful. Sandy only had four base hits, but it drew eight walks. The Pioneers’ inability to turn those walks into runs led to their offensive downfall. They left nine runners on base in the game.

“I was pleased with our approach at the plate,” Luebbert said. “We came up with some big hits, just not enough to win a ball game.”

Sandy earned a split in the week’s series with the Wildcats by claiming a 5-4 road win Friday.

The Pioneers (14-3) are second in the NWOC standings — one game behind Sherwood.

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