Lake Oswego wins again at Oregon City to take series
Lake Oswego had runners at first and third with two outs in the fifth inning Wednesday, May 1, when Brandon Day stepped into the batters' box to face Oregon City starter Christian Mansfield for the third time.
Day looked at a first-pitch fastball that was just off the plate and then he got another fastball on the outer-half of the strike zone — a pitch the senior designated hitter knew how to hit.
Day drove the ball into the gap in right-center field for a double that scored Alex Giroux and Alex Sol, capping a four-run inning that helped carry the Lakers to a 9-8 Three Rivers League win at Oregon City High School.
"I go up to the plate with the same mentality every time, just trying to hit the ball out of the infield and trying to hit it with power," Day said. "The pitch was maybe a little outside. That's why I drove it the other way.
"That's something we work on every day, driving the ball the other way and hitting the ball out of the infield with runners at first and third. In those situations, we need to make those plays."
Wednesday's game was all about timely hitting for Lake Oswego, from Malcolm Williams' two-run double and Matthew Sebolsky's RBI triple in the second inning, to Thomas Dukart's solo homer in third, to Giroux's run-scoring single in the sixth that gave the Lakers an 8-6 lead.
The Lakers survived some seventh-inning drama that saw Oregon City score one run on one walk and two Lake Oswego errors, but the Pioneers left the potential tying run at third when LO reliever Jacob Matlock struck out Dalton Welch on a high fastball that Welch fouled into catcher Gabe DeVille's glove for the game's final out.
Lake Oswego's final line score — nine runs, 12 hits, six errors — wasn't a thing of beauty, but it was good enough that the Lakers extended their longest winning streak of the season to four games.
"I think we were lucky to get out of that game with a win," Lakers coach Jake Anders said. "There aren't too many times you're going to make six errors and win a ball game."
With the win, the Lakers improved to 6-5 and fourth place in the TRL (9-11 overall). Oregon City, meanwhile, fell to 2-8 in the TRL and 7-12 overall.
The Pioneers, looking to bounce back from their 13-3 Tuesday, April 30, loss at Lake Oswego, jumped out to leads of 3-0 in the first inning and 6-4 in the fourth, but neither lead was safe as the Pioneers stumbled to their sixth consecutive league loss.
"You should be able to win a game when you score eight runs, but we made it tough," Pioneers coach J.J. Winkle said. "Our pitching has kind of been that way all year where we just give up way too many hits and way too many runs."
Mansfield, the Pioneers' senior right-hander, didn't fool very many hitters on a day when he went five innings and allowed eight runs on 10 hits with two intentional walks and three strikeouts.
"When Christian is on, he's on, but he had a hard time throwing his breaking ball for a strike and keeping his changeup down," Winkle said. "You can't do that against this team. Those Lake Oswego kids can hit, and if you look at our hit chart, they hit a lot of fastballs on fastball counts."
Through the first two games of the three-game series, Lake Oswego scored 22 runs while batting .438 (28 for 64) with seven doubles, four triples, and three home runs.
"Honestly, one through nine, we've got some guys," Anders said. "They know that at different times, there's going to different players carrying the team and I think the last two days have been a great example."
The Lakers trailed 6-4 in the fifth when they sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs on four hits, two intentional walks, and a sacrifice fly. The first run came home on Giroux's RBI single, the second scored on Sol's sacrifice fly to center and the final two came around on Day's two-out single.
"Brandon has been big for us," Anders said. "He's a guy that has always been able to hit a little bit and he's been hot for us right now. The thing that Brandon does really well is he stays down through baseballs and he's confident in what he's doing right now."
Lake Oswego added a run in the sixth when DeVille hit a double and Giroux followed with an RBI single to make it 9-6.
Oregon City answered in the bottom half of the inning when Kegan Kmetic led off with a single, went to third on an errant pickoff attempt and scored on T.D. Davison's groundout to second, cutting the deficit to 9-7.
In the seventh, Mansfield kept the Pioneers' hopes alive when he drew a one-out walk from Matlock, went to second on an error and then scored on another error.
With the tying run at third, Welch, the Pioneers' No. 2 hitter, worked to a 2-2 count but couldn't square up on a letter-high fastball and that was the ball game.
The Lakers still have a series against Canby next week, followed by three against Tigard. That might not be enough games for LO to overtake Tualatin, Tigard, and West Linn for the league title, but the Lakers still believe they can better their position for the playoffs.
"Right now, we've just got to concentrate on putting ourselves in the best position we can going into the playoffs," Anders said. "We always want to be playing our best baseball going into the playoffs."?
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