UMATILLA - Mac-Hi opened the baseball season on a strong note, picking up an 8-2 win over Umatilla's Bulldogs Wednesday afternoon.
The Pioneers, led by Alex Ortiz who hit a two-run homer in the seventh and pitched the first three innings of a one-hit game, are off to a 1-0 start on the season.
"Our young men were a little nervous and it showed in the first four innings, but we got four consecutive hits in the seventh to score four runs," said Pioneers coach Mike Garcia.
Jake Morris opened scoring with an RBI double in the third inning to push Mac-Hi to a 1-0 lead. Morris also scored the first run of the seventh inning on another double.
"Our pitchers did a great job keeping their batters guessing," Garcia said. "They kept them off balance and did a good job."
The teams made three errors apiece, but Mac-Hi had six base-on-balls and just two batters struck out, while Ortiz and Kevin Cuellar combined for nine strikeouts on the day.
"Those are the three areas I'm always talking about," Garcia said. "We need to have fewer errors, more strikeouts and more base-on-balls from being patient at the plate. We tied in one area and won the other two, so that definitely played in our favor."
The Pioneers leave Milton-Freewater Friday morning for a 10 a.m. game at John Day, then play Sisters and La Pine Saturday to wrap the weekend at the Grant Union Tournament.
"That's a true early test for them," Garcia said.
Mac-Hi 8, Umatilla 2
Mac-Hi 001 020 4 - 8 6 3
Umatilla 000 000 2 - 2 1 3
Ortiz, Cuellar (4) and McCoy. Snyder and Hurley.
HR - Ortiz (Mac-Hi).
Hits - Mac-Hi: Morris 2, Kessler, Garcia 2, Ortiz, Zaragosa. Umatilla: Hurley.