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Baseball: Lions split with Sandy, pick up first NWOC win

St. Helens gets their first shutout of the season with a 2-0 victory over visiting Sandy


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Bryce Mulcahy slides into second base in the fifth inning. St. Helens scored both their runs in the fourth en route to a 2-0 defeat of Sandy.There's no place like home. And according Jeff Timmons, head baseball coach in St. Helens, it makes for a big difference. The Lions returned to familiar territory on Wednesday and earned a split in the season series with Sandy thanks to a 2-0 victory over the Pioneers, erasing the memory of a 9-1 road defeat the previous day.

“We came to play,” said Timmons, who mentioned that the long bus ride and an intimidating home-field advantage for Sandy played a role in a tough league opener.

In the first game, St. Helens had a solid handle on things through the first two innings. The Pioneers snuck in a run in the first inning on a balk, but the Lions had an answer in Tyler Stangland, who knocked a pitch into left field and drove home Bryce Winnier to even the score at one run apiece.

A double play to end the second inning kept Sandy from taking a lead, but the Pioneers had plenty more up their sleeve. Cody Welty doubled to left field, driving home a pair of runs to put Sandy up by two, and a few moments later, Welty scored on a single from Sam Kalar. The Pioneers netted two more in the fifth inning, and scored three in the bottom of the sixth off a Lion error and two walks to take a 9-1 lead.

A slew of pitchers carried the load for St. Helens, none of which managed to find a rhythm. The three combined to give up eight hits, walking seven and striking out only two. Sandy ace Carson Dwyre, on the other hand, gave up five hits, walked one and struck out six all by himself in seven innings.

The second game of the series couldn't have been more different.

Bryce Sanford was on the mound this time, and pitched a gem. Through six and two thirds innings, Sanford allowed just two hits, walking a pair of batters and retiring four. Bryce Mulcahy stepped in for the final at-bat, striking out Dwyre with runners on first and third, threatening a rally.

The defense behind Sanford stepped up as well, not allowing Sandy a base hit until the top of the third inning and getting 16 outs on grounders and fly balls.

The infield was graced with crisp play after crisp play. In the top of the fourth, the Lions had let one runner on base after getting hit by a pitch, but weren't about to budge any further. Sanford picked up an easy sacrifice bunt from Austin Carson, Brandon Jones got under a high fly ball at third base and Mulcahy was about to scoop up a ground ball, making the simple pass to first base to close the inning.

Then, in the fifth inning, the Lions pounced.

Beau Mason hit a line drive to center field, driving home Mulcahy and giving the Lions their first lead of the series. Jones banged in another single to score Brody Takemoto a few moments later, and the defense took over from there, finishing the game by allowing just one base hit over the final two innings.

St. Helens will look to build on their success with a home and home series against Parkrose beginning on Friday, April 11 at home. The Broncos have won just once this season, conceding six losses and allowing 65 runs.

SUMMARY

Sandy 9, St. Helens 1

STHE 010 000 0 – 1 5 2

SAND 103 023 0 – 9 8 0

St. Helens

Hits (5): Keller, Winnier, Stangland 2, Spencer

RBIs (1): Stangland

Runs (1): Winnier

Sandy

Hits (8): Tilton, Martin 2, Welty, Carson, Kalar, Stipe, Hamburg

RBIs (7): Welty 2, Kalar, Schilperoort, Stipe, Hamburg 2

Runs (9): Tilton 3, Martin 2, Welty, Kogle, Schilperoort, Stipe

SUMMARY

St. Helens 2, Sandy 0

SAND 000 000 0 – 0 2 0

STHE 000 200 0 – 2 6 1

Sandy

Hits (2): Tilton, Stipe

St. Helens

Hits (6): Stangland, Mulcahy, Mason 2, Jones, Weitzel

RBIs (2): Mason, Jones

Runs (2): Mulcahy, Brody Takemoto