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Whidbey Wildcats beats Arlington 76ers 7-4 | American Legion baseball

Above: Oak Harbor AA American Legion catcher Brad Farnum has the plate completely blocked and puts the tag on Arlington’s Keioca Riggin in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game.  Riggin was trying to score on a squeeze bunt by Joel Larson.  - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
Above: Oak Harbor AA American Legion catcher Brad Farnum has the plate completely blocked and puts the tag on Arlington’s Keioca Riggin in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game. Riggin was trying to score on a squeeze bunt by Joel Larson.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

Coach John Humphries described Thursday’s AA American Legion baseball game between Oak Harbor and Arlington as a “real well-played game.” The Wildcats got strong pitching performances from Ryan Bene, Josh Higbee and J. D. Wilcox, along with some timely hitting, to beat the 76ers 7-4.

Coming off a 5-4 victory over Everett June 19, the Wildcats notched their second league victory in a row.

“Our pitchers threw strikes and we played sound defense. I don’t think we made an error,” Humphries said.

Oak Harbor scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning.

Bennett Richter led off with a double to left-center field and Higbee followed with a sharp single to left to plate the designated hitter with the first run of the game.

Nate Young collected a one-out single sending Higbee to third, and he scored on Kurtis Weaver’s infield out.

The 76ers responded with three runs in the top of the third inning that featured back-to-back triples by Thane Street and Joel Larson to take a 3-2 lead.

The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the third on Richter’s sacrifice fly that plated Yale Rosen, and took the lead for good in the top of the fifth inning.

In the fifth, Wilcox led off with a walk and scored on catcher Brad Farnum’s triple over the Arlington center fielder Tyler Wendland’s head. Farnum scored the second run when the throw from the outfield sailed into the Oak Harbor dugout.

“We’re hitting the ball and doing everything fundamentally right,” Humphries said.

Higbee replaced Byrne on the mound in the top of the fourth and threw three strong innings before being relieved by Wilcox.

Wilcox, the right-hander from Coupeville, set the side down in order in the top of the seventh inning.

Higbee was the winning pitcher and Wilcox picked up the save.

Oak Harbor tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on back-to-back doubles by Young and Weaver, and a single by Wilcox.

“We started off slow, young, and we weren’t gelling,” Humphries said. “We’ve still got a ways to go and some things we need to work on, but overall I’m very pleased. I just hope we can continue and keep the momentum.”

Rosen and Young were both 2-for-3 to pace Oak Harbor’s nine-hit attack.

Wendland and Keioca Riggin had three hits each for Arlington.

Garth Rose absorbed the loss on the mound in relief, taking over from Street who went out of the game with an arm injury in the bottom of the fourth inning.

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