Pioneers rally to complete sweep of Liberty
Sandys baseball team gets back to .500 in league play
For three or four innings on Friday, the Sandy Pioneers played an error-riddled, shaky brand of baseball. Unfortunately for the Liberty Falcons, high school baseball games last seven innings.
The Pioneers overcame a four-run deficit and earned an 8-7 win over Liberty to sweep the two-game season series.
Liberty is a great team, and I love beating them, Sandy catcher Cody Welty said. We beat them in football in overtime, beat them in a comeback win yesterday and then again today. Comeback wins feel so much better.
The Falcons immediately backed Sandy into a corner by scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. The two teams traded runs for the next few innings and the Pioneers trailed 7-3 entering the bottom of the fifth. Nick Martin led off the inning with a sharp single which convinced Liberty to pull starter Brandon Wise. Reliever Jared Akin came in for the Falcons and received a rude welcome from the Pioneers. Akin faced eight batters and only recorded two outs.
Akin walked the first batter he faced, Kyle Stipe, on five pitches. With runners on first and second, Welty ripped an RBI-single to center field. Stipe scored on a fielders choice off the bat of Sandy first baseman Austin Carson.
The Pioneers still had runners on first and second when Rhett Schilperoort hit a comebacker to Akin that kicked off his glove and everyone was safe. Pinch-hitter Sam Kalar stepped in with the bases loaded and popped a high fly ball down the line behind first base. The Liberty first baseman, second baseman and right fielder converged on the ball, but none could track it down before it found the turf six inches inside the line. Leadoff man Bryce Tilton came up two batters later and drew a full-count, bases-loaded walk to push Carson home.
Liberty went to the bullpen again and got out of the inning, but the damage was done. Sandy had tied the game at 7-7 and had all the confidence.
It took a lot of heart and a lot of effort from everybody in the dugout to stay positive after we fell behind, Welty said.
Sandy reliever Alex Morgan worked around a single and a walk in the top of the sixth to keep the game even. In the bottom half of the inning, Welty singled to left and moved to second on a passed ball. Carson then knocked a sinking liner to left and Welty scored from second, clapping his hands emphatically as he slid across the plate.
With a one-run lead, Sandy left nothing to chance. The Pioneers sent No. 1 starter Carson Dwyre to the mound to throw the seventh inning. He only needed seven pitches to retire the side.
The theme for this team has been to compete no matter what the score is, Sandy coach Rick Martin said. This wasnt pretty, especially after we made five or six errors in the first few innings, but we competed the whole game and it came together in the end.
Sandy won the first game of the series on Wednesday in similar fashion. It played sloppy in spots early in the game, but bounced back and came from behind to win 3-2.
Welty was the offensive star in Fridays game as he went 4-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and three runs. Stipe was aboard three times, scoring twice. No. 9 hitter Mitchell Lovely was 1-for-2 with a walk and came up with a key two-run single in the second inning.
Sandy opened a three-game series at Putnam on Tuesday. Game 2 is set for Wednesday afternoon at Sandy and the two schools are back at Putnam on Friday for Game 3. Putnam came into the week in the No. 7 spot in the Class 5A rankings.