Sports

Season ends at state tourney

After losing its first two Northern Washington State Final tournament games on Wednesday and Thursday in Poulsbo, the Island Paint and Glass 14-year-old Babe Ruth team rebounded nicely over the weekend.

Oak Harbor cruised past American Division opponents Spokane 12-2 on Friday and Eastlake 5-0 on Sunday, finishing third in its pool. Unfortunately for OH, its season came to an end, as a second place finish was required to move on to the state finals against the top two National Division teams this week.

“The first two games they just looked flat,” head coach Bill Young said. “I couldn’t tell if it was the heat or what. Finally in the last inning of the Spokane game they looked like they were ready to play baseball.”

Oak Harbor gathered its first win against Spokane behind an explosive offense that erupted for seven runs in the final inning. Eric McCardle, who earned MVP honors, went 4-for-5, scoring twice with two doubles. Daniel Lura and Tony Diaz also had two hits and Johnny Encinas and Andrew Bighouse each contributed doubles. Tommy Slais, Aaron Bell, Rob DeMarsh and Chris Valencia rounded out the 14-hit attack. The starting pitcher, Valencia, allowed just two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts through four innings. In relief, Marcus Naymik shut down Spokane with four strikeouts, while giving up only two walks.

OH finished its season in impressive fashion behind the stellar pitching of Bighouse, who completed a four-hit shut out over Eastlake. In his dominant performance, Bighouse struck out five, gave up two walks and allowed only one Eastlake runner to reach scoring position.

“He threw an awesome game,” Young said. “He had a lot of good infield ground balls.”

Oak Harbor got its offense moving early on a single by McCardle and a double by Naymik. Bighouse and Valencia followed with run scoring infield groundouts to take 3-0 advantage. OH remained quiet until the fifth inning when Bighouse reached first on an error, then scored on a hit-and-run double by Valencia. Encinas lined a single to center in the seventh and advanced to third on a Bighouse single He then scored on a deep sacrifice fly to right center by Valencia.

Oak Harbor, who made its second state appearance in two years, lost its first two games of the tournament to host team North Kitsap, 8-3, on Wednesday and Central Basin (Ephrata),10-5, on Thursday.

“We just couldn’t get the bats moving like I was hoping,” Young said.

According to Young, tournament highlights included Most Valuable Player selections for McCardle and Bighouse. He also noted outstanding defensive plays from Lura, McCardle, DeMarsh, Encinas, Diaz and Tosh Welshans.

Oak Harbor finished the 2004 season with an impressive 27-12 record.

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