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The No. 2 Mavericks score twice late to beat No. 4 Oregon City in non-league action.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Mountainside junior Eric Altmark gets ready to tag out Oregon City senior A.J. Floro during the Mavericks' 4-3 win in nine innings at Mountainside High School on Thursday, March 24.The Mountainside baseball team pushed ahead of Oregon City.

Then the Pioneers came back.

The Mavericks pushed ahead again — and Oregon City came back.

But after the Pioneers took their first lead of the game in the eighth inning, it was Mountainside that came back, scoring twice late to beat Oregon City 4-3 in nine innings at Mountainside High School on Thursday, March 24.

"I think we all showed up. I think we had energy, and the energy really did it," said Mountainside senior shortstop Andy Miller, who knocked in the winning run with a ninth-inning fielder's choice. For the game, Miller went 0 for 5 at the plate and had three assists. "I think we had more energy than them and that's really what won us the ball game."

"I stayed confident throughout the entire game," said senior catcher Bowen Stinson, who went 1 for 4 at the plate with a triple and one run scored. "There was never a doubt in my mind that we were going to win that game."

With the victory, the second-ranked Mavericks won for the fifth straight time and improved to 5-0 in non-league play. No. 4 Oregon City, meanwhile, lost for the first time and fell to 3-1-1 overall.

After the game, the Pioneers said they remained confident in their ability to win throughout the contest.

"I think everyone has a job to do and I think that we all believe in each other," said Oregon City senior second baseman Dylan Ha, who went 1 for 3 at the plate and scored two of his team's three runs. "We've bonded together over the past couple weeks and we have faith in each other to know that we can continue to keep pushing forward."

"We don't have individual players who are better than other people — we just play good as a team," added senior shortstop Colin Grimmer, who was 1 for 3 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs. "We have good team chemistry and we just go out there and play as hard as we can, work as a team, do everything as a team."

The Mavericks pushed ahead early when they used a walk to senior Kaden Kingsbury, a groundout and two wild pitches by Oregon City senior starter Dane Lais to grab a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

But Lais settled down after that and held the Mavericks scoreless for the next three innings, allowing just one hit in that span and setting Mountainside down in order in both the second and third frames.

That gave the Pioneers time to play their way back into the game, tying the score 1-1 in the top of the fourth when Grimmer hit a two-out solo homer to left off Mountainside sophomore starter Lucas Pienert.

The two teams then traded single runs over the next three at-bats, with Maverick sophomore Alex Ingalls singling up the middle in the fifth and scoring later on an Oregon City error. But the Pioneers tied the game again at 2-2 in the top of the sixth when Ha led off with a single up the middle, moved to third on sophomore Noah Oistad's double to right-center and scored on Grimmer's sacrifice fly to deep left field.

But neither team scored in the next three at-bats, with Oregon City sophomore reliever Luke Hornback pitching a 1-2-3 sixth, then surviving a pair of back-to-back two out walks in the bottom of the seventh.

For Mountainside, senior reliever Alex Montgomery came on in the fifth and kept the Pioneers off the scoreboard in both the fifth and seventh innings.

But Oregon City, facing Mountainside senior Cooper Johnson in the eighth, appeared to take control. Ha was hit by a pitch to open the inning, raced to third on Johnson's wild pickoff throw, then scored on senior Autie Oistad's grounder for a 3-2 lead.

That momentum didn't last long, however. Maverick senior Tyler Christiansen opened his team's at-bat in the eighth with a single to left, took third on back-to-back wild pitches, then scored when Stinson hammered a triple to right field.

But there, with the game tied 3-3, Stinson on third and no outs, Mountainside stalled. Hornback notched back-to-back strikeouts, then got a fly out to end the threat.

Johnson set Oregon City down in order in the top of the ninth, however, and when Mountainside challenged again, the Pioneers couldn't answer. In the bottom of the ninth, senior Spencer Barnard led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Kingsbury's bunt single and — after an intentional walk to Eric Altmark — scored when Miller grounded to second and Barnard beat Ha's throw home.

"I just had to put the ball in play," Miller said. "My mindset was 'Go the opposite way' because that's farthest from home. Just put the ball in play and something good is going to happen. We had a fast guy on third so I knew that if I put it in play, we were going to win the game."

Despite the loss, the Pioneers said they'd be ready to compete when Three Rivers League play opens.

"Everyone on the team has their key role," Grimmer said. "If everyone does that key role and does what they do well, I think we'll have a good chance of competing against the higher teams in our league."

For the game, Kingsbury went 1 for 2, scored once and walked three times, while Christiansen, Stinson, junior Ian Salbeda, sophomore Alex Ingalls and Barnard added one hit each. For Oregon City, Lais threw five innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six.

To see all the photos from this game, click here.

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