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Improbable run ends just short for Oak Harbor | Legion
One run and one upset short.
After recording three consecutive upsets, the Oak Harbor Legion baseball lost 7-6 to Anacortes in eight innings in a winner-to-state, loser-out game at the district tournament at Burlington-Edison High School Saturday, July 19.
The loss ended a miracle run by the Wildcats. Oak Harbor entered the tournament as the eighth and bottom seed after finishing tied for seventh in the regular-season standings.
Top-seeded and league champion Anacortes walloped the Wildcats 17-5 in the tournament opener Wednesday.
Oak Harbor then plowed through the consolation bracket, trimming higher seeds South Whidbey, Ferndale and Mount Vernon to set up the rematch with Anacortes.
Ferndale and Mount Vernon both swept their regular season series with Oak Harbor. Ferndale, in fact, whipped the Wildcats 12-1 Monday in the regular-season finale. Mount Vernon blanked Oak Harbor 10-0 and 9-0 in league play.
After defeating Ferndale in the district playoffs Friday, Oak Harbor was one of four teams left in the running for two state tournament berths.
That set up a Saturday match with Mount Vernon, the only undefeated team left in the district tournament.
Oak Harbor crushed the Riverdogs 12-3.
Mount Vernon built a 3-0 lead after five innings as Oak Harbor kept squandering chances to score, leaving five runners in scoring position.
After knocking on the door for most of the game, the Wildcats blew it off its hinges by scoring six runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings.
In the sixth, walks to Danny Wolfe and Quentin Tungate sandwiched around a base hit by Trent Benson loaded the bases.
Tyler Snavely singled in one run. Another golden opportunity appeared to be fading away when two Wildcats struck out.
Kevyn Johnson kept the inning going when he was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run. Anthony Stewart hit a grounder to the right-side hole, and the second baseman's throw got by the first baseman. When the dust settled, Stewart was on third and three runs scored, making it 5-3.
Clay Doughty singled to score Stewart.
In the seventh, an error off Benson's bat and singles by Tungate and Snavely loaded the bases. Preston Rankin plated Benson with a sacrifice fly.
After an out, Johnson singled to re-load the bases. Stewart, again, cleared them. The Burlington-Edison High School football grandstand's back wall serves as the outfield fence in right centerfield. Stewart blasted a triple off the wall to score three runs.
Doughty followed with a towering shot that hit the grandstand's roof and bounced onto the football field for a home run, putting a cherry on top of the rally.
Snavely pitched a complete game three-hitter, giving up only one earned run. He walked five and struck out five, including the final two batters.
Stewart and Doughty each ripped three hits; Snavely and Benson had two each.
After the win over Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor took the field again for its fifth meeting of the summer with Anacortes.
Anacortes defeated Oak Harbor in the previous four.
The finish of the latest game was shaping up to mirror Oak Harbor's miracle run in the tournament. Down 4-1 heading into the top of seventh, the Wildcats scored three runs to tie the game and then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning.
Oak Harbor was on the cusp on another upset when it scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth and had Anacortes on the ropes in the bottom half of the inning.
The Steamers had runners on first and second with two outs, then a ball scooted under an Oak Harbor outfielder's glove, allowing both runners to score. Game, set, season.
Oak Harbor scored one run in the third inning on a walk to Avery Aguirre and a single by Stewart.
The seventh-inning rally began when Snavely reached on an error. A single by Rankin and walk to Aguirre loaded the bases. After an out, a single by Stewart, a walk to Doughty and a single by Wolfe tied the game. Two strikeouts left two runners in scoring position.
Snavely also started the rally in the eighth. He walked, was bunted to second, and then, with two outs, scored on Johnson's base hit.
Stewart and Wolfe collect two hits each.
Oak Harbor finished the season 24-19 (8-12 in league).