Pioneers take out McMinnville in round one
- Jack Greene
- Sandy Post - Sports
BASEBALL PLAYOFFS - Sandy falls 9-4 in second round against Roseburg
Sandy did its part to keep Mount Hood Conference baseball in good stead in the first round of the state baseball playoffs last Friday, holding off McMinnville 2-1 on Friday.
It was nearly a clean sweep for conference teams, which went a collective 4-1 in playoff openers last week.
A large crowd saw junior lefty Connor Harris hold the Pacific Conference runner-up to one run on six hits before getting some relief from closer Tom D'Aboy with one down in the sixth.
'It was the kind of game you hope for' said Sandy coach Garet Luebbert. 'You got a lot of people to come out and watch and you got good performances from the kids.'
And sterling performances from the pitchers.
D'Aboy, the starting shortstop, got the call from Luebbert with runners on first and second and one out after McMinnville had narrowed the Sandy lead to 2-1 moments earlier on an RBI-single by Dillon Crawford.
D'Aboy walked the first batter he faced, Nik Patterson, to load the bases. But he responded to the pressure-packed situation by whiffing catcher Spencer Bauman on a called third strike that popped the catcher's glove with such force that it drew some 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' from the crowd.
He then got first baseman Wes Jones on an easy come-backer to get out of the inning.
'Harris did a really good job of mixing up fastballs and changeups' said McMinnville coach Darren Bland. 'We hit some deep balls, we just never could get all of it.'
And deep balls at McMinnville's park can be just that - deep. It's a park where the corners run 340-feet and center field is almost 400 yards out.
Several Grizzly drives reached the edge of the warning track 10 feet from the fence.
For most of the night, however, few thought that either pitcher-Harris for Sandy or Travis Vincent of McMinnville-would need any help.
The Pioneer hitters finally got to Vincent for two runs in the sixth inning.
With two outs and Kyle Cargill on first after singling, the right-hander gave up a line-drive double to D'Aboy that landed in fair play barely inside the right-field line. The hit scored Cargill and when left-fielder Kevin Trosko lined a single to left a few pitches later for a 2-0 lead, Sandy fans began dreaming of a date with Southern champ Roseburg.
But those visions began to dissipate when the Grizzlies put the go-ahead run into scoring position before D'Aboy turned away the threat in the sixth.
He did it again in the seventh inning, pitching out of a bases-loaded three-alarm fire when Luebbert ordered an intentional walk to No. 3 hitter Vincent to load the bases with two outs.
With the crowd at full throttle, Crawford hit a routine ground ball to Pioneer second baseman Randall Cranston, who scooped the ball cleanly and threw to first to end the game.