Baseball: Wildcats win, stay alive at district

Thanks to a strong defensive effort and a solid pitching performance by Gabe Clark, the Oak Harbor High School baseball team stayed alive in the district tournament with a 4-2 win over Mount Vernon at Sherman Anderson Field Tuesday, May 10.
Clark, a junior right hander, pitched a complete-game seven hitter, striking out three and allowing no walks.  The Wildcats backed Clark with a defense that committed only one error.
Oak Harbor now plays Mountlake Terrace at home Wednesday, May 11, at 4 p.m. in the second of a three-game run the Wildcats have to complete in the losers’ bracket if they want to grab third place in district
and the final qualifying spot for the regional tournament.
If the Wildcats top Terrace, they will play for third against the winner of Glacier Peak-Ferndale at 10 a.m. Saturday at Everett’s Memorial Stadium.  That game will be followed by the title game between Meadowdale and Shorewood.
Oak Harbor (14-6-1), the No. 3 seed, eliminated Mount Vernon (15-6-1), the No. 2 seed and the Northwest League champion.
Although Oak Harbor jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings against the Bulldogs, it could have had more but had three runners thrown out at the plate in the first five outs.
In the first, Jay Stout walked, Clark was hit by a pitch and Yale Rosen walked to start the game. After a strikeout, Ryan Byrne singled in one run, but Clark was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score from
In the second inning, David Tillotson led with a walk. Peter Franssen bunted and the Bulldogs’ throw to second for the force was late. Justin Counts followed with another bunt, and the Mount Vernon pitcher overthrew third allowing the lead runner to score and Oak Harbor to have runners at second and third.
Stout and Clark each followed with grounders, and both times the Bulldogs threw home to cut down runners at the plate.
In the fourth, Counts singled with two outs and scored on Stout’s double. An infield single by Clark and an overthrow allowed Stout to score, and Oak Harbor lead 4-0.
Mount Vernon had just two runners and one hit in the first three innings, but started the fourth with three straight hits. Two ground outs scored to runs and finished the scoring at 4-2.
Mount Vernon loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. The next two hitters grounded to shortstop Josh Evans who threw home for the outs. Another grounder to Evans ended the threat.
Byrne finished 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and stolen base. Clark was 2-for-3.
Coach Tyson VanDam said, “Gabe (Clark) threw well. We knew they were overly aggressive at the plate, and our game plan was to keep the ball down and away. He did a good job hitting his spots.”
He added, “We played good defense; Josh (Evans) was awesome.”
In other tournament games Tuesday, Shorewood defeated Terrace 8-1 and Meadowdale topped Glacier Peak 5-4 in eight innings in the winners’ bracket.  Ferndale beat Shorecrest 6-4 in the other loser-out game.
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