PENDLETON?— The Pendleton Buckaroos rode a wave of hits into the state quarterfinals with a 21-9 win over Sandy on Thursday at Bob White Field.

The No. 1-ranked Bucks (24-2) belted out 20 hits (three home runs and four doubles) and never relinquished control after a five-run second inning.

The total 30 runs scored by the two teams is ninth all-time in Oregon’s baseball playoffs for all classifications.

Sandy (10-16)?attempted a comeback with eight runs in the fourth inning but John Kline threw 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Ike VanPelt to calm the Sandy (10-16) bats and allow the offense to regain the momentum.

“I?started to get behind and lost my speed on my fastball, couldn’t get my curve ball down,”?said VanPelt of his fourth, which he entered having allowed only one hit.

He said he felt some soreness creeping into his right shoulder in his pregame warmups.

“I was starting to feel my shoulder tweak out a little bit. I?didn’t think it would bother me in the game but it bothered me,”?he said.

Kline struck out a batter to end the fourth with the bases loaded and was credited with just one run on two hits.

“Being able to save Wyatt (Whitten) for (Friday)?is what we wanted to do,”?said Pendleton coach Greg Whitten. “I was very happy how John Kline came into a tough situation and really pitched well for a couple of innings. He gave us a big boost on the mound and kind of righted the ship a little bit.”

Kolby Haliewicz struck out two in the seventh to finish out the win on the mound for Pendleton.

Haliewicz, VanPelt and Wyatt Whitten all hit home runs for the Bucks — VanPelt’s a grand slam that put Pendleton up 12-0 in the third inning.

Haliewicz led off the second inning with a solo home run that was the Bucks’ first hit of the game off Sandy southpaw Trent Rutledge, who shut down Hermiston in the play-in round.

Two batters later Whitten launched his solo shot. Lane Richards added a two-RBI?double in the inning and Reese Merriman brought another run home to put the Bucks up 5-0 by the end of the frame.

Richards was 4 for 4 on the day and led off big fifth and sixth innings with singles for the Bucks.

Haliewicz drove in five runs, scored four times and went 3 for 4. VanPelt was just 1 for 4 but got on base three times, scored three times and was intentionally walked once.

Whitten was 3 for 4 with two runs, Chaz Madsen was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs, Merriman was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs, and Daniel Lebsock had two RBIs and scored once.

“It was a total team effort and, any team would be, but certainly that’s when we’re at our best when we’re getting hits up and down the lineup,” Greg Whitten said.

The Bucks host No. 11 Crescent Valley (20-8) at 4 p.m. today in the quarterfinals. Crescent Valley beat Putnam 5-3 on Wednesday.


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