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Oak Harbor eliminated from playoff picture | American Legion baseball
Thursday’s AA American Legion baseball game between Ferndale and Oak Harbor was a close one for the first four innings.
Wildcat coach John Humphries had commented that somehow Ferndale always seemed to have Oak Harbor’s number, and Thursday was no exception.
Ferndale held a 2-1 lead heading into the top of the fifth inning before sending nine batters to the plate and scoring three runs to take a 5-1 lead.
The sixth inning was even worse when 10 Ferndale batters tacked on four additional runs and went on to defeat Oak Harbor 11-7.
The loss effectively snuffs out any hopes of the Wildcats reaching post-season play.
“It’s been a long summer,” Humphries said. “For the age group that we’ve got here to compete at this level, we played well all year long.”
Oak Harbor starting pitcher Jason Bagby sailed through the first inning retiring the side in order on nine pitches. But a single by Phil Lange to lead off the second inning, followed by Tristan Higgerson’s double and an infield out, gave Ferndale its first run.
Lang was a major problem for for the Wildcats the entire game, collecting four hits and a sacrifice fly to drive in five runs.
Oak Harbor responded with a run in the bottom of the second to tie the score when Kian Mebane ripped a double inside the bag at third base to lead off the inning. Mebane then stole third base and scored on a wild pitch.
Ferndale took the lead for good in the top of the fourth when Jeff Frost led off with a triple and Lange followed with the first of his two doubles.
Ferndale could have put more runs on the board and had runners on second and third with no outs, but Bagby got tough on the mound and struck out three batters in a row to keep the score at 2-1.
In the top of the fifth inning Ferndale had three hits and a pair of walks to score its runs and with the bases loaded, Humphries replaced Bagby with J. D. Wilcox who got Tanner Olson to fly out to centerfield to end the inning.
Wilcox couldn’t make it through the sixth inning, getting tagged for four runs before being replaced on the mound by Nate Young with two outs and the bases loaded.
Oak Harbor mounted a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 11-3.
Wilcox led off with a single and Yale Rosen drew a walk.
Kurtis Weaver and Sam Wolfe had back-to-back singles to plate three runs and Mebane followed with a sacrifice fly to put the fourth run of the inning on the board.
Mebane and Wolfe had two hits each for Oak Harbor.
Humphries said he didn’t think that there was any way Oak Harbor could make it to the districts.
“I was looking at the matchups in the league and there are four
teams that have about the same record as we do,” he said. Three of those teams beat us earlier in the year, all by one run. If they win, obviously they are in. Even if they lose and end up 7-7 like us, they would still be in.”
Humphries said even though the Wildcats played .500 ball during the season, it wasn’t that bad a year.
“We just lost a lot of one-run games early in the season and it came back to bite us at the end,” he said. “We have a good group of kids and they are going to be stronger in the next couple of years.”