Pioneers take care of business with McNary, Wilson

Oregon City High School’s baseball team closed out last week strong.

After dropping a 3-2 nailbiter to Liberty on April 2, the Pioneers bounced back to beat McNary 8-7 in extra innings on April 3, and they followed that up with a 12-1 rout of Wilson on Friday.

Friday’s game was one of the Pioneers’ strongest team performances of the season. They played error-free defense behind pitchers Wiley Braun and D.Q. Lee, and they hit the ball all through their lineup.

Braun was sharp on the hill, pitching one-hit ball through 5-1/3 innings, while striking out six, walking four and allowing just one earned run. Lee was equally tough in relief, allowing just one hit, two walks and no earned runs.

The Pioneers faced five different pitchers in the Wilson game. They only struck out once and they had eight players combine for nine hits.

And the Pioneers took charge from the onset, putting five runs in the book in the first inning and putting all 12 of their runs on the scoreboard in the first four innings.

Lee (2-for-3) made contact for a pair of base hits and scored twice.

Terrel Hood, Trevor Martin, Zach Sprague, Tyler Sheldon and Braun each drove in two runs. Sprague rapped a double and scored three times; Hood also had a double.

Clay Valenzuela-Reece reached base with a base on hit and a base on balls and scored both times.

Second baseman Matt Weseman came through with four assists.

“We got pretty good pitching and we played great defense,” said Oregon City assistant coach Mike Lord. “There were a lot of weak ground balls. We got 10 outs at first base.”

Thursday’s 10-inning game with McNary was a barnburner. McNary scored two runs in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 7-7 and the Pioneers scored a single tally in the bottom of the 10th to win it, 8-7.

Lee led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk; with one down, Hood and Valenzuela-Reece drew walks to load up the bases.

Jalen Satter than hit a first-pitch single to right field, and the Pioneers celebrated the hard fought victory.

Junior right-hander Austin Johnson was tough at crunch time, holding the Celtics scoreless through the three extra innings, with three strikeouts, five scattered walks and no hits allowed.

It was once again a team effort by the Pioneers on offense. Six different Oregon City players had RBI and five players scored.

Satter (3-for-4), Valenzuela-Reece (2-for-4, 3 RBI) and Sheldon (2-for-5) headed the effort at the plate. Lee scored three times and had Oregon City’s only extra base hit, a double.

“We may not be the best ball club, but we play hard, and we don’t quit,” Lord said.

The Pioneers let the game with Liberty get away from them.

Trailing 2-1, the Falcons scored two runs in the top of the seventh to steal the 3-2 win. One of the runs was unearned, helped out by an infield fielding error.

“I am disappointed we could not hold a 2-1 lead with one out in the seventh,” said Lord. “We need to win these types of games to be competitive in the Three Rivers League this year.”

The loss was especially tough on Oregon City starting pitcher Caden Hennessy. A freshman right-hander, Hennessy had a no-hitter going through the first 5-1/3 innings. He pitched 5-2/3 innings, striking out two, walking two and allowing just one hit and one earned run.

Johnson, in 1-1/3 innings of relief, struck out two, walked two and allowed no earned runs.

The Pioneers (4-5) finish up the preseason this afternoon, when they play host to McKay. They begin TRL play next week with a three-game series with Clackamas, hosting the Cavaliers on Monday and Friday.

“We’re slowly progressing and getting to where we need to be,” said Lord. “We’re using our full roster and playing pretty good defense. We’re still working on our pitching rotation, but, for the most part, I like what we’ve seen from our pitchers.... I like the kids we’ve got. There’s no quit in these Pioneers.”

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