Sandy stays hot with victory over St. Helens
SANDY — Getting out to a quick offensive start can prove to be a deciding factor in ball games and Sandy proved that to be true in their game with St. Helens on Friday night.
The Pioneers pushed three runs across in the bottom of the first, and even after going through some rough patches in the contest, Sandy was still able to pull out the 6-2 victory against St. Helens.
"It's important for us to be ourselves and play our game," Sandy head coach Rick Martin said. "We had a really good approach at the plate in the first inning."
Even in defeat, St. Helens head coach Jeff Timmons was pleased with his team's ability to hang with the second-ranked Pioneers.
"I thought we competed really well today," Timmons said. "Sandy is a really good ball club, so to lose 6-2, I can handle that."
Jacob Dukart led off the opening frame with a single up the middle, then got into scoring position with a stolen base. He would score two batters later on a RBI-single by Colby Bonner.
The Pioneers would continue the hot start to the game when cleanup hitter Talati Polamalu roped a double to the wall and in right-center field, allowing Bonner to score from first. Tyler King would follow with an RBI-single to give Sandy the 3-0 cushion.
"It's good for our pitchers to have a three-run lead under their belts to start out," Polamalu said. "Giving our guys runs to work with is important."
After surrendering four hits and three runs in the first, St. Helens starting pitcher Joe Rea was very effective in his next three innings of work, throwing scoreless frames in his next three trips to the bump to keep his team within striking distance.
"My change-up was working really well today, so I worked that pitch on the outer part of the plate quite a bit," Rea said. "I was able to get a lot of ground balls with that pitch."
The Lions would respond with a run in the top of the second. After Joey Binam hit a two-out opposite field double down the right field line against Sandy starter Kyle Hudson, Tyler Lyman knocked him with a single to left field to cut the lead to 3-1.
St. Helens would strike again in the top of the fourth when Drew Sullivan scored on an error by Sandy center fielder Nolan Turin, bringing the Lions within a run.
But in the bottom of the fifth, Rea would start to lose command on the mound. The sophomore right-hander walked three batters in the inning to load the bases up. It looked like he was going to get out of the jam, but the St. Helens infield committed a crucial two-out error on a weak ground ball from Sandy's Cam Conger, allowing Bonner to score on the play.
Look for extended coverage in the April 25 print edition.