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Oak Harbor derails Kamiak's
"Baseball scouts had gathered behind home plate when Oak Harbor's Tyson Van Dam took his warmup tosses. However, the scouts weren't at Oak Harbor Wednesday to watch the Wildcat lefthander.The featured attraction was Kamiak's Ryan Express: Ryan Kanekeberg. The lanky right-hander, a talented all-around athlete, is regarded as one of the top pitchers in the state and a likely draft pick in the June amateur draft. Kanekeberg displayed a blazing fastball at times, but he didn't overpower the Wildcats, who prevailed 5-3 in the 4-A Western Conference crossover tilt.Oak Harbor was definitely not in awe of Kanekeberg. The Wildcats scored four runs off the Kamiak ace. Oak Harbor coach Jim Waller was elated with the Wildcats' offensive success.He's one of the best pitchers around. I was really pleased with the way our kids challenged him,'' Waller said.Garrett Stone and Eric Collins each had two hits to lead the Wildcats.We weren't intimidated by him (Kanekeberg), Oak Harbor catcher Jay Hartman said. We came out swinging the bats.Kanekeberg did strike out five, but he walked six. Meanwhile, Van Dam upstaged Kanekeberg. Van Dam had a one-hit shutout going for five innings. The one hit was a soft blooper that fell between the mound and first base.It feels great to beat one of the best pitchers in the state, Van Dam said.Knowing that any run would be a premium, Oak Harbor used some guile in the third inning to score one. BJ McElroy, who led off the inning with an infield single, later scored the game's first run on a double steal. Van Dam protected that lead through the fifth. Then in the bottom of the fifth, Oak Harbor chased Kanekeberg with three runs. Garrett Stone ignited the rally with a leadoff triple to left field. Doug Cann and David Walton each walked. Kanekeberg then was lifted for a reliever, and Oak Harbor took advantage of the switch. Hartman singled in Stone and Justin Baeyen followed with a two-run single. Kamiak eventually scored two runs off Van Dam in the sixth. However, Oak Harbor added an insurance run in the bottom half when Stone circled the bases. He led off with a single, then stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on another wild pitch.In the seventh, Kamiak tallied another run off Van Dam, who was getting tired. Van Dam retired the first two hitters, then walked two straight. Casey Richardson relieved Van Dam and picked up the save after giving up a run-scoring single.He (Van Dam) pitched a solid game,'' Hartman said. He made some great pitches to get outs when he needed them.Van Dam's control wasn't perfect as he walked eight. However, he only surrendered four hits.He really pitched well. I wanted him to get a complete game, that's why I had him out there in the seventh,'' Waller said.Van Dam's performance followed a strong performance by Ryan Elvebak, who hurled the Wildcats to a 10-4 victory Tuesday. Elvebak didn't walk a batter, but gave up eight hits.Baeyen had two hits in the victory over Shorecrest.Wednesday's victory was the third straight for the Wildcats and the third straight sharp pitching effort. Last Friday David Walton went the distance in a 5-2 victory over Shorewood.We've been getting good pitching lately, Waller said. We've been playing well defensively, too.The Wildcats, 4-3 on the season, didn't commit an error Wednesday in beating a team that is recognized as one of the favorites for the Wesco Southern Division title."