Wildcats hang on for victory

Jim Waller’s non-league experiment worked to perfection on Thursday afternoon.

Evaluating talent for the approaching league season, the OHHS head coach put five players on the mound in a seven-inning, 6-5 win over Lynden.

“We’re trying to find out who’s going to be able to pitch for us,” he said.

Senior Jeff Lang closed the deal, earning a clutch save. After allowing a lead-off single, Lang retired the bottom part of the order on a groundout, strikeout and flyout.

“He did a real nice job,” Waller said.

Others pitching for OHHS on Thursday included junior James Leach, senior Peter Skurdal, senior Mark Radach and junior Gary Ellis.

“We walked a lot of guys...that was a disappointing part, but a couple of guys got real big outs when they needed them,” Waller said.

Oak Harbor dug itself an early hole after Lynden’s Jordan Head drilled an inside-the-park home run to deep center field off the starter, Leach.

The Wildcats inched their way back in the bottom of the first via a two-out, RBI double from Radach.

The Lions again went up by two in the second with an RBI single, but the Wildcats were prepared to rally. Sophomore Chris Valencia earned a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the second and Oak Harbor scored three more runs in the third via RBI hits from junior Ernie Martinez and sophomore Johnny Encinas, along with one unearned run.

Junior Marshall Lobbestael picked up the hit of the game for OHHS in the fourth inning, nailing a long shot to center field. Hustling around the bases, he narrowly slid in under the tag at home for an inside-the-park home run and a 6-3 lead.

“If it was a different game I might not have sent him with one out,” Waller said. “But it’s non league and it’s hard to get those home runs.”

The run proved huge for the Wildcats, as the Lions rallied for two more scores in the fifth inning.

Oak Harbor’s last two pitchers, Ellis and Lang, halted any more scoring opportunities for Lynden.

Top hitters for OHHS were Lobbestael, who went 2-for-3 and Encinas, who was 3-for-3.

Lynden 210 020 0 — 5 9 2

Oak Harbor 113 100 x — 6 7 3

Anderson, Martin (4), Kok (6) and Gunst, Libolt (4). Leach, Skurdal (2), Radach (3), Ellis (6), Lang (7) and Encinas. WP-Radach (1-0). LP-Anderson (0-1). S-Lang.

Anacortes 5, Oak Harbor 3

Oak Harbor dropped its season opener Tuesday afternoon, 5-3, at Anacortes.

The Wildcats uncharacteristically committed six defensive errors and some key base-running mistakes.

“They had just one earned run, and we made two base-running errors that led to double plays,” Waller said. “I truly believe we have a good defensive team, so I don’t think we will see that kind of performance very often.”

Lobbestael was 2-for-3 with a run scored, Radach was 2-for-4 and Encinas was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Oak Harbor is now 1-1 in non-league play. The Wildcats host Sedro-Woolley at 1 p.m., today, March 18 and take a week off before traveling to Squalicum for their next game.

Oak Harbor 000 110 1 — 3 7 6

Anacortes 302 000 x — 5 7 3

Boon, Lobbestael (4) and Encinas. Brynteson, Macy (5), Franulovic (7) and Boehm. WP-Brynteson (1-0).

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