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Wildcats stopped by top-ranked T-birds | Baseball

Oak Harbor pitcher Grant Schroeder throws to first baseman David Kusnick after fielding a comebacker against Shorewood. - Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor pitcher Grant Schroeder throws to first baseman David Kusnick after fielding a comebacker against Shorewood.
— image credit: Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times

It was a game of “what ifs” for the Oak Harbor High School baseball team in its 7-4 loss to powerful Shorewood Monday, April 29, in Oak Harbor.

The Thunderbirds (14-2, 17-2) were undefeated and the state’s top ranked 3A team until stumbling twice to Meadowdale last week. They have outscored opponents 144-32 this spring.

Shorewood ripped 13 hits, without a cheapie in the bunch, against Oak Harbor and took advantage of four Wildcat errors to build a 7-0 lead after four innings. Three of the runs were unearned.

In addition to the errors, Oak Harbor hurt itself by leaving seven runners on, including five in scoring position. Shorewood pitcher Sam Boone struck out eight, several in key situations to get out of trouble.

Oak Harbor knew it wasn't its day when, with the bases loaded and two outs, Jack Richter hit a line shot but directly to the second baseman to end the threat.

The Wildcats scored three in the fifth to get within striking distance. Anthony Stewart singled, stole second and scored on an error after Clay Doughty’s bunt single. Grant Schroeder’s double plated Doughty. After an out, Richter doubled in the third run.

In the seventh, Brent Mertins walked with one out, moved up on an error and fielder’s choice and scored on a passed ball.

Stewart and Andrew Snavely each finished with two hits for the Wildcats.

Schroeder had a good outing after taking over on the mound for Richter with two outs in the third inning. He gave up only five hits, three in the Thunderbirds’ two-run fourth, to give Oak Harbor a chance to comeback.

The Wildcats (9-7, 10-9) finish the regular season at Meadowdale (8-8, 9-10) Tuesday, April 30.

Oak Harbor is locked into second place in the Wesco North, however, will not play a home game in the first round of the playoffs as originally thought.

If Ferndale of the Northwest Conference has a better league record than one or either of the fourth-place teams in the Western Conference’s two divisions, it replaces the one with the worst record.  It is then placed within that division based upon its winning percentage for seeding purposes.

The fourth-place Wesco team with the worst record is the North's Marysville-Getchell (5-11).

Ferndale, therefore, is placed into the Wesco North, bumping Getchell out of the playoffs. With an 9-3 league record, Ferndale will take over the second seed in the North and drop Oak Harbor to third.

Now Oak Harbor will open district tournament play at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the South’s No. 2 seed Glacier Peak (11-4, 13-5), a team it lost to 9-4. Had Oak Harbor been the No. 2 seed, it would have hosted Mountlake Terrace, a team it beat 10-2.

The second round of the eight-team, double elimination tournament is Tuesday, May 7.

The Wesco coaches are not happy with Ferndale’s arrangement considering it is the only 3A school in the Northwest Conference and plays only 2A and 1A schools. Four of is league wins were over 1A teams.

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