Sandy loses chance at league title with loss to Hillsboro
Northwest Oregon Conference
HILLSBORO — With a district title on the line in the regular season finale, Sandy was stymied by the pitching performance of Hillsboro's Kane Kiaunis.
The sophomore right-hander went the distance on the bump, giving up just one run on seven hits as Hillsboro clinched the Northwest Oregon Conference crown with a 6-1 victory over Sandy on Friday night.
This was just the second time all season that Sandy had been held to just one run.
"Our pitch selection wasn't very good, especially when we got down in the count," Sandy head coach Rick Martin said. "
With the loss, Sandy completes their regular season with a 14-3 record in NWOC play. Hillsboro — despite losing all nine of their non-league contests to start the season — finished with a 15-2 mark.
"Not going to lie, this feels really good," Hillsboro head coach Bob Berent said. "How can anyone not leave this field without feeling like baseball is going really good around here?"
After Sandy went down in order to start the top of the first, Hillsboro was able to manufacture a run in their opening at-bats to take the early lead. Leadoff hitter Curran Mitzel got aboard with a bunt single and then stole second and third base before Joshua O'Neal knocked him in with a RBI-groundout.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Cameron Losey hit a line drive to left field that Sandy's Jacob Dukart looked like he had a beat on, but when he went for the diving catch, the ball hit the palm of his mitt and then bounced out onto the grass. Losey strolled into second with a huge double that ended up having big ramifications on this ball game.
Kiaunis would reach on an infield single and O'Neal would get to first on a free pass, which loaded up the bases.
It looked like Sandy pitcher Colby Carson might get out of the inning after striking out Miles Littlejohn for the second out. But in what ended up being one of the biggest at-bats of his career, senior outfielder Tommy Wolfe came through for his squad when they needed him.
Look for extended coverage in the May 16 print edition.