Sports

Wildcats' season ends with loss to Stanwood

The Oak Harbor baseball team was originally scheduled to host Stanwood last Friday but rain moved the contest to Saturday. The one day delay didn’t help the Cats as they fell 9-4 to the Spartans despite outhitting them 9-7. It was the Wildcats’ fourth loss in a row to end the conference season.

“We didn’t finish the season the way we had hoped,” said head coach Jim Waller. “It wasn’t the way that we wanted to go out.”

The Wildcat tailspin began with their narrow 7-6 loss to league-leading Mount Vernon on April 19. The Cats were just one base hit away from knocking off the unbeaten Bulldogs.

“We lost the heartbreaker to Mount Vernon here and that took a lot of the wind out of our sails,” Waller said. “We played well enough to win, to knock off an unbeaten team. ”

The Wildcats were knocked out of the playoff race with two losses to Mount Vernon. They then had to finish up the regular season with the two games against Stanwood, a team fighting for a playoff spot.

“We were down after losing to Mount Vernon,” Waller said. “Once we got knocked out of the playoffs it was tough. Stanwood was in the opposite boat – they are fighting for a playoff spot and had to win.”

The Spartans knocked off the Cats 12-2 on April 24. Oak Harbor rallied to make the game on Saturday more competitive.

We didn’t play well at all at Stanwood, the kids were not focused,” Waller said. “The game on Saturday against Stanwood we did everything we could to win. It’s not very often that you get more hits than a team but get doubled in runs.”

Stanwood jumped out on the Wildcats 3-0 in the first, but Oak Harbor rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning. The Cats then scored two runs in the third to take the lead. Things began to fall apart in the fifth when the Spartans scored three runs to gain a 7-4 advantage.

“Dewayne (Oxford) didn’t pitch too badly on Saturday,” Waller said. “He settled down and pitched well until the fifth when a couple of errors hurt us.”

The Wildcats had three errors in the inning, a problem that hampered the team all year.

“We broke down defensively at times this season,” Waller said. “It necessarily wasn’t one guy. It was a little bit at each position.”

Stanwood was just the opposite. The Spartans had just one error on the day and turned three double plays to get themselves out of jams.

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 5-11 in conference play on the year and 7-12 overall. A lack of timely hitting in the final weeks of the season appeared to do the Cats in.

“We just stopped hitting the past couple of weeks,” Waller said. “You’re not going to win getting about four hits a game.”

Waller praised the play of seniors Anthony Martinez, Chris Cardinal, and James Medina.

“Anthony had a great year,” he said. “He pitched well and hit over .300. Chris Cardinal had a great year hitting the ball too. He exceeded all my expectations with the way he hit. James Medina surprised me with his hitting too. He led the squad in batting average and really helped out offensively.”

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