Oregon City baseball gets hot to beat Wilsonville 4-1
There's never a bad time to get hot.
Just ask the Oregon City baseball team.
The Pioneers, after going 1-9 in their first 10 games, then losing a couple to a COVID-19 outbreak, have done just that. Oregon City won for the third straight time on Thursday, May 20, putting together a solid effort at bat and in the field to beat Wilsonville 4-1 at Wilsonville High School.
"I feel pretty good. That was a pretty good win," said Oregon City freshman pitcher Dane Lais, who threw all seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits, two walks and one hit batter while striking out five. "Our defense … made some pretty good plays, we hit well — we did everything pretty well."
"It was just a great team win overall," said OC senior center fielder Logan Quinsey, who went 2 for 4 at the plate with one run scored, and also made five catches in the outfield. "One through nine, the guys on the bench, everybody contributed."
With their third straight win, the Pioneers improved to 4-9 overall (they're also 1-6 in Three Rivers League play). Wilsonville — just back from its own two-week COVID-19 break — lost for a third straight time and fell to 5-6 overall (the Wildcats are also 5-1 in Northwest Oregon Conference play).
"We missed those two weeks and we were on a pretty good run (before) ... we had to take that break," said Wilsonville junior outfielder Austin Lowery, who went 2 for 2 at the plate with a triple and one RBI. "But we know we have the team. If we can just get things going the next three games, I think we can come out with all three wins."
"If we would have just put more balls on the ground, it probably would have been a different score," said Wilsonville junior shortstop Cole Hubka, referring to his team's 12 fly ball outs against Oregon City. "It was tough jumping right back into it again and just having one practice (before facing Oregon City)."
After a scoreless first inning, the Pioneers broke through with two runs in the second. Autie Olstad got things started with a bloop single to center field and took second base on an error, Quinsey added a single of his own and stole second, and Rocco Loftis followed with a run-scoring sacrifice fly to give his team a 1-0 lead. Quinsey then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.
The Pioneers wouldn't score again until the fourth inning, but Lais gave his offense plenty of time to work by keeping the Wildcats under control early. In the game's first five innings, Lais allowed just two baserunners (a Jack Kimball walk and a single by Dalton Wright) and faced just one batter over the minimum.
"(I was) motivated … to keep going and throw strikes and let them put it in play," Lais said. "Our outfield was phenomenal. They caught (everything)."
"(Lais) was pretty good," Hubka said. "I think we all got the barrel on the ball, but we just hit it right at guys."
In the top of the fourth, Olstad led off with a single to left, pinch runner Ryan Pollack took third on Quinsey's hit to right and Pollack scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0. Then, in the top of the fifth, the Pioneers pushed their lead to 4-0 when Lucas Cloyd reached base on an error and scored when Braden Lucas hammered a double to left-center field.
But the Wildcats didn't go down quietly. In the bottom of the sixth, Wilsonville loaded the bases with two outs, getting a leadoff single by Lowery, a two-out hit by Keenan Sanford and a walk to Max Bledy before Lais struck out Kimball to end the threat.
After Hubka short-circuited an Oregon City threat with an unassisted double play that ended the top of the seventh, the Wildcats finally broke through to score in their half of the inning. Matthew Gomez started things when he was hit by a pitch with one out, then scored when Lowery ripped a two-out triple to left field. But Lais made sure the Cats got no closer, getting a groundout to end the game.
"I work pretty well under stress," Lais said. "I had the confidence to let them put it in play and let (my defense) get the out."
"I was confident in Dane," Quinsey added. "He was good all game and he's been our best pitcher all year."
For Wilsonville, the strong finish gave the Wildcats hope.
"We started off a little slow, but once we got things going, the team can hit," Lowery said. "We know that. We just needed to get the bats going and we can score."
For the game, Quinsey and Olstad had two hits each for the Pioneers, while Lowery was the lone Wildcat with more than one hit.
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