Oak Harbor earns share of district title | Legion
By JIM WALLER
Whidbey News Times Sports editor
July 26, 2011 · Updated 10:29 AM
After stumbling in the first round of the district playoffs, the Oak Harbor Legion baseball team rebounded to earn a share of the district crown with Snohomish and a berth in the state Legion A tournament.
Oak Harbor and the Snohomish 96ers fought to a 3-3 tie Monday, July 25, at Mount Vernon's Sherman Anderson Field in a game that was halted in the bottom of the sixth inning because of rain.
Since Snohomish couldn't return Tuesday because of other obligations to complete the washed out game or a second contest if necessary (Oak Harbor had to beat the 96ers twice to earn the title), the coaches and tournament officials decided to call the two clubs co-champions.
Both teams move on to state; Oak Harbor will be the higher seed since Snohomish "forfeited" Tuesday's games.
State runs July 30 to Aug. 3 in Lacey at North Thurston High School. Oak Harbor meets the CDA Lumberjacks at noon July 30.
Steady rain fell throughout Monday's 3-3 draw, and Oak Harbor was poised to take its first lead when the game was stopped. The Wildcats had runners at second and third with no outs in the sixth when the tournament director suspended play.
With a state berth secure regardless of the outcome of the game, Oak Harbor coach Tyson VanDam played his entire roster and started three players who saw limited or no action until the Snohomish game.
Snohomish used a walk, infield hit, two doubles and a sacrifice fly to spurt to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The 96ers looked to add to the lead in the second, but Oak Harbor starter Grant Schroeder worked out of a bases-loaded jam with the help of a diving catch by left fielder Anthony Stewart.
Andrew Snavely took over the pitching duties in the third inning and shut down Snohomish from there. He was aided by a double play and several other key defensive efforts in the sloppy conditions.
Oak Harbor had just three hits entering the fifth when it tied the game. With one out Snavely singled and scored on Ben Etzell's double. Jack Richter singled in Etzell and moved to third on Zach Zimmer's double. An intentional walk to Austyn Walker loaded the bases.
Nate Stanford, making his first tournament plate appearance, put in the game's best at bat. Down in the count 1-2, Stanford worked the count to 3-2 and then fouled off five pitches before earning a walk and forcing in the tying run.
Stewart opened the sixth with an infield single. An error on Snavely's sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third. Because of the difficulty Snohomish had in making the play under the wet conditions, the tournament director stopped the game.
In four innings of relief, Snavely struck out four and gave up two hits.
Zimmer led the offense with a single and double, and Richter had two singles.
Contact Whidbey News Times Sports editor Jim Waller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5060.