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Pioneers win with walk off

Sandy plates three runs in the bottom of the seventh to top Wilsonville 6-5


by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Dalton Hamburg puts down the tag on a Wilsonville base runner during Fridays 6-5 win to close out the NWOC season. The Sandy fan section fell dead silent. The Wilsonville baseball team had erased a two-run Sandy lead with a four-run rally in the sixth and seventh innings, and the Pioneer faithful could only sit in stunned stillness.

For the players and coaches in the Sandy dugout, the situation didn’t feel quite so dire. Sure, they the Pioneers trailed 5-3 with their 7-8-9 hitters due up, but they had come back to win games in the bottom of the seventh inning multiple times earlier in the season, so they knew it was more than possible to make it happen again. Within a couple minutes, they made their fans believers, too.

Sandy scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to shock Wilsonville with a 6-5 walk-off win on Senior Day.

“We just don’t give up,” Sandy coach Rick Martin said. “We don’t quit. We have come back before, and that helps, but we have a bunch of competitors on this team.”

Kyle Stipe, who entered the game in the fifth inning, sparked the late rally by leading off with a single. Sandy’s seniors then took over.

Senior Sam Kalar followed Stipe and drew a four-pitch walk, after which fellow senior Mitchell Lovely moved the runners up to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.

That took Sandy back to the top of the order and leadoff man Bryce Tilton dug in. The senior shortstop went hitless in his first four at-bats, but made his fifth count as he laced a base hit to left-center for a two-run single. The throw back into the infield sailed over the head of the Wildcat cut-off man and Tilton jetted to second base on the play. With that one swing of the bat, Sandy’s fan section broke its silence and erupted with a choir of cheers that echoed throughout the entire campus.

With senior center fielder Nick Martin at the plate next, Tilton got a huge lead at second and took off for third, and he was in with a stolen base easily. Martin eventually walked to bring up Sandy senior catcher Cody Welty. Wilsonville brought the infield in to try and cut off the run. On a 1-2 pitch, Welty bounced a groundball between first and second. The Wilsonville second baseman dashed to his left and flagged it down, but he was too deep in the hole to get anything on his throw home, and Tilton slid across the plate for the winning run.

“We don’t have a bunch of guys who are probably going to hit the ball over the fence, but we are scrappy,” Rick Martin said. “We execute very, very well.”

The dramatic victory capped a sensational run through the Northwest Oregon Conference season for Sandy. The Pioneers lost three of their first four league games and then went on a 13-game winning streak to finish with a conference record of 14-3, giving them sole possession of second place.

Sandy traveled to Barlow on Tuesday for one last non-conference contest. The Pioneers ended the year with a top-10 ranking and they will host a play-in qualifier on Friday.

View a photo gallery from Friday's game at parkerlee.exposuremanager.com.