Baseball: Wildcats win again, set up showdown for 1st place

After a 7-6 comeback win over Mountlake Terrace Thursday, April 7, the Oak Harbor High School baseball team faces Shorewood in a battle for first today, April 8, on the Wildcats' diamond at 4 p.m.

Shorewood, led by three Division I recruits, was the state's preseason No. 1 team in the Seattle Times 3A rankings. Currently the Thunderbirds sit third in the poll and seventh in the state coaches' poll.  Oak Harbor is unranked by the Times and ninth in the coaches' poll.

The Thunderbirds (7-2) and Oak Harbor (7-1-1) lead Wesco 3A with 4-0 records. Shorewood, which finished fourth in the 4A state tournament last year, was picked by the Wesco coaches in a preseason poll to win the league title this spring.

Mountlake Terrace was tabbed for second, Glacier Peak third and Oak Harbor fourth.

Shorewood boasts two of the state's top pitchers, Blake Snell and Kevin Moriarty. Snell is listed by one recruiting site as the top prep prospect in the state. Moriarty is listed fifth and first baseman Trevor Mitsui seventh.  Snell and Mitsui have signed with the University of Washington, Moriarty with Gonzaga.

Oak Harbor coach Tyson VanDam said he expects to see Moriarty today and Snell next Tuesday when the two teams square off at Shorewood.

Oak Harbor set up today's showdown with an improbable win over visiting Mountlake Terrace Thursday.

One sign of a good team is a squad that can win even when it doesn't play well. The Wildcats proved that in the victory of the Hawks.

Mountlake Terrace outhit Oak Harbor 10-3, the 'Cats committed four errors to the Hawks' two, committed two  mental mistakes that cost runs and struck out five times with runners in scoring position, but still pulled out the win.

Terrace jumped to a 4-0 lead and then Oak Harbor got one back in the fourth. Josh Evans led with the Wildcats' first hit and Ryan Byrne walked. A fielder's choice at second put runners at the corners. After a strikeout, pinch hitter Jack Richter walked to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Evans to score.

The Hawks upped the lead to 5-1 in the fifth and Oak Harbor responded with a three-run rally. Jay Stout and Yale Rosen walked and Evans was hit by a pitch to fill the bases.

After a strikeout, Sam Glavick ripped a shot down the right-field line on what appeared to be a bases-clearing triple. The ball, however, slipped under the outfield fence and was ruled a ground-rule double, sending Glavick back to second the Evans back to third. The ruling would cost Oak Harbor a run.

Justin Counts followed with a sacrifice fly to score Evans to trim the lead to 5-4; a ground out ended the inning.

Mountlake Terrace scored in the top of the sixth, and then Oak Harbor pushed across three runs in the bottom half to take the lead for good, 7-6.

Clark started the uprising with a single and Wolfe walked. An error by the Hawk shortstop off the bat of Jay Stout allowed Clark to score. Rosen was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Evans' sacrifice fly scored Wolfe and Stout scored the final run on a passed ball.

Clark pitched a complete game for Oak Harbor, allowing 10 hits but striking out nine and walking just one. Only three of the runs were earned.

VanDam said, "I like winning games when we don't play well; it gives us confidence."

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