The Pioneers broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning when a throwing error with two outs opened the door for a four-run uprising

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Oregon City's Christian Mansfield pitched six innings and allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in Tuesday's 8-2 home win over Centennial at Bauer Field.Oregon City starting pitcher Christian Mansfield didn't have his best stuff on a day when the Centennial Eagles didn't play their best defense.

The difference in the game was that Mansfield got stronger as the game went along.

Centennial's defense went in the other direction.

Oregon City turned three Centennial errors into seven unearned runs as the Pioneers erased an early two-run deficit and scored an 8-2 Mt. Hood Conference home win Tuesday at Bauer Field.

Mansfield went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts, and Trey Curtiss pitched a scoreless seventh as the Pioneers (5-4, 2-0 Mt. Hood) won their fourth in a row.

"We're happy with the win," Mansfield said. "We need to clean up some errors and put some more hits on the board early, but other than that we're happy with it."

Tied at 2-2 in the fifth inning, Oregon City's Hunter Manassero was on third base with two outs when Tanner Osborne bounced a chopper to the left side of the mound. Centennial starter Justin Funkhouser fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw pulled first baseman Yoon Saechao off the bag, allowing Manassero to score the go-ahead run.

Eagles coach Eric Fogle came on the field to argue the call at first base and asked the base umpire to check with the home plate umpire -- the high school baseball equivalent of instant replay.

After the two umps met briefly, the initial call stood -- safe at first, error on the pitcher.

"I saw Yoon's foot get back," Fogle said. "But, hey, at the end of the day, umpires aren't perfect. All I can ask for is them to talk, and if they conclude that I am wrong, then I am wrong."

Oregon City kept the inning alive as Jordan Beard drew a walk, Kyle Roley followed with an RBI-double that scored Osborne, and Mansfield added a triple to right that scored Beard and Roley and pushed the lead to 6-2.

The Pioneers tacked on two more unearned runs in the sixth on a leadoff walk, a bloop single, a fielder's choice, a Centennial throwing error, and a wild pitch.

"Had we made two plays, who knows what ends up happening in the final inning," Fogle said. "Oregon City scored only a single earned run and we've got two on the board, but that's how baseball works. If you can't make the plays against a good, well-coached team, they're going to make you pay for it.

"One of the drawbacks with our team is that we have a lot of inexperience. We have only three returning varsity players and even though we were battling toe-to-toe with them, once the big mistake happened it had a cascading effect."

Centennial took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Kyle Fitzgerald singled, Gavin Hemmer walked, and both runners scored on Emmett Keyes' two-out double to the gap in right center.

Mansfield, the Pioneers' junior right-hander, then settled down over the next four innings as he mostly pitched to contact and relied on his defense to do its job.

"What changed was I just threw more strikes," Mansfield said. "I figured out the strike zone a little bit and the defense picked me up. That was most of it.

"Falling behind 2-0 in the first inning was not the plan. I fave up a few hits here and there and walked a kid, but, hey, my defense came around, we started swinging the bat in the third inning and we pulled out a win."

Centennial loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning, but the threat ended when Andrew Caron lined into a 4-6 double play.

In the seventh, Gehrig Bricker reached base after a dropped third strike with one out, but was left stranded when Curtiss retired the final two Eagles' batters on groundouts.

"We came out a little flat, but hung in there," Pioneers coach J.J. Winkle said. "We played some decent defense when we had to and I thought Christian pitched well enough to keep us in it all day long.

"He threw well without his best stuff. He didn't have his great breaking ball and he wasn't spotting his fastball as well as he usually does, but he kept grinding. As the game we on, he started throwing the ball harder and he got into a better rhythm."

Roley finished 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs, and five other Pioneers had one hit each as they started league play 2-0 for the second time in three seasons.

"We're going good right now," Mansfield said. "It shows people what we've actually got. We're not getting stepped on anymore. We're here to play."

In Monday's league opener, Oregon City starter Alan Scott pitched six innings and checked Centennial on three hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts, leading the Pioneers to an 8-1 road win.

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