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Clark takes two from Saints

Key hits elude Mt. Hood as it drops Mondays doubleheader to the Penguins


by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Mt. Hoods Nick Gawley works to beat a throw to first base during last weeks doubleheader home setback to Clark College. The Mt. Hood Saints were swept by Clark in Monday’s doubleheader at home, and they only had themselves to blame. They had just as many chances to strike as Clark, but most of those opportunities fell by the wayside.

Game 1 was especially maddening for Donohue and the Saints. Clark starting pitcher Nick Gagner did nothing to overpower the Mt. Hood hitters, yet he still had the Saints frustrated at the plate all game. He coaxed them into bundles of routine ground balls and lazy fly balls that the Clark defense handled with ease.

“We didn’t do anything to make them make tough plays, and that makes it really easy for a team to feel comfortable,” Mt. Hood coach Bryan Donohue said. “They never felt like they were in trouble.”

The Saints did get manage some base hits, and more than just a few. Mt. Hood outhit the Penguins 10-7, and had as many base runners. The problem for Mt. Hood was that it couldn’t string series of hits together.

“We scattered around a bunch of meaningless hits, but when we needed someone to get a hit, it just didn’t happen,” Donohue said. “It seemed like every time we knocked on the door, we let them off the hook. If we made more consistent contact when it really mattered, it would have changed things and I think they would have been more on edge.”

The Saints also did a poor job leading off innings and failed to muster base hits with nobody out. By the time they did get runners on, they were not left with many options.

The only time Mt. Hood got a leadoff hit was in the bottom of the third inning, and it led to the team’s only runs of the day. Designated hitter Jake Dahlberg cracked a single through the infield to start things off and that gave the Saints a chance to play some small ball. Dahlberg advanced to second on a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Mike Travers. That took Mt. Hood back to the top of the order and left fielder John Welborn smoked a single into the spongy outfield grass which brought Dahlberg around to score.

Dahlberg moved into scoring position when Cole Hamilton ripped one of his three singles, then scored from second on a grounder hit by catcher Louis Wolf that snuck by Clark second baseman Jordan Swofford. By putting together a four-hit inning, Mt. Hood scored two runs which tied the game 2-2.

The Saints had more than one hit in an inning on just one other occasion. They had back-to-back singles in the fourth inning, but both hits came with two outs and the runners were stranded on the base paths. Mt. Hood was 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the third and 0-for-5 in the other six innings. The Saints left seven runners on base in the game, four of which were stranded in scoring position.

“We are pitching well enough and playing good enough defense to win, but if you want to win at this level you have to get timely hitting, and we had no timely hitting,” Donohue said. “It’s tough to swallow because we saw pitches to make something happen, but just didn’t do anything with what we had.”

Lefthander Joe Piercey took the loss on the mound as he allowed four runs in five innings, though he didn’t throw as badly as his numbers suggest. Clark scored two runs on Piercey in the first inning on a soft liner that floated a foot over the glove of Mt. Hood first baseman Tommy Lane who was playing in on the grass to protect against a possible bunt. The Penguins scored the other two runs on a shallow fly ball that fell in no-man’s land between the Lane, second baseman Connor Newell and right fielder Travers.

It was more of the same for Mt. Hood in Game 2. The Saints were shut out 3-0 despite having as many base hits as the Penguins. None of their six hits were particularly timely and Mt. Hood did not get a base runner past second base.

Mt. Hood starter Clint Burris allowed one earned run as he threw all seven innings in a losing effort.