Sports

Cats crank out the hits

Question marks hovered over the heads of the Oak Harbor baseball team during the preseason.

Would they be able to hit the ball with runners in scoring position?

Could they avoid a season-long hitting slump similar to 2004?

They had an emphatic answer Tuesday afternoon, blowing out Anacortes 10-4 in Oak Harbor, during a non-league season opener.

“We hit the ball today and set the tone early and that made a big difference,” OHHS head coach Jim Waller said.

After pop out by the lead off batter in the bottom of the first, the Wildcats opened the offensive floodgates.

An infield hit by sophomore Marshall Lobbestael, a walk from senior Camden Schutte and a single from senior Jake Jansen loaded the bases for senior Bryce Waller. Waller took advantage of the situation, driving a bouncing ground ball passed the first-base bag for a two RBI double.

Senior Chris Royce tacked on a two RBI single later in the inning for a 4-0 lead.

OHHS kept pouring it on in the second inning on a two-run triple from Lobbestael and a sacrifice fly from Schutte for a 7-0 lead.

The Wildcats had three doubles and two triples on Tuesday — something that impressed coach Waller.

“We had a lot of extra base hits, that’s something last year we didn’t have a lot of,” he said.

Strong pitching and defense maintained a solid cushion the remainder of the game.

The Wildcats turned two double plays, one unassisted by the shortstop Lobbestael and another from Lobbestael to second baseman Trace Mead.

“For the first game there wasn’t a lot of mistakes in any part of the game,” coach Waller said.

Schutte pitched three solid innings for OHHS, giving up one run, three hits and one walk. Lobbestael and Royce came in and closed out the final four innings, giving up a combined three runs and five hits.

“We need to pitch ahead though, we were behind in the count a lot, but it’s early,” coach Waller said. “Overall I was pleased on how we pitched, I thought the kids threw strikes when they had to.”

The core of Oak Harbor runs came from five players.

Lobbestael ended the game 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI. Bryce Waller was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI, Royce was 2-for-3 with three RBI, Schutte was 2-for-2 with two RBI and Mark Radach was 1-for-1 with an RBI triple.

Anacortes 001 110 1 — 4 8 2

Oak Harbor 432 001 x — 10 11 1

Hall, Lindbo (4), Larkin (6) and Boehm. Schutte, Lobbestael (4), Royce (7) and Bighouse. WP-Schutte (1-0). LP-Hall (0-1).

Oak Harbor 4, Lynden 1

The Wildcats continued their success Thursday, winning 4-1 over 3A Lynden on the road.

It was the first meeting Waller could recall playing the Lions in his 27 years of coaching at OHHS.

“It’s one of the few teams in the area we’ve never played,” he said.

Oak Harbor made the best of the first meeting, jumping on Lynden for three runs in the fifth inning for a 3-0 lead.

OHHS took advantage of three walks, a hit batter, an error and had an RBI single from Lobbestael to pull ahead.

The Cats tacked on one more in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Mike Bighouse.

Brendan Kays pitched four scoreless innings and picked up the win, while Jake Jansen got the save.

Oak Harbor is now 2-0 to start the season. They take on non-league Sedro-Woolley on the road at 1 p.m., today, March 26. They don’t play their next game until Monday, April 4 at home against Squalicum.

Oak Harbor 000 031 0 - 4 5 1

Lynden 000 010 0 - 1 5 1

Kays, Mead (5), Jansen (5) and Bighouse. Visser, Phair (6) and Gunst. WP-Kays (1-0). LP-Visser (0-1).

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