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Oak Harbor captures Steamer Invitational
The red hot Oak Harbor AA American Legion baseball team flexed its muscles and won the 2009 Steamer Invitational baseball tournament the weekend of June 19 through June 21 in Anacortes.
In the championship game, the Wildcats defeated the Burlington Sox 6-4 in a nine-inning contest.
After opening the tournament with a 7-5 loss to the host Anacortes team, Oak Harbor reeled off three impressive victories.
The first was a 6-5 win over Bellingham, before hammering Ferndale 15-7 and Longview 14-2.
Wildcat coach Tyson Van Dam said two of the victories were come-from-behind wins that allowed the team to reach the championship game.
In the title game, Oak Harbor fell behind 4-1 after the first four innings of play. After that point, the Wildcats took advantage of some untimely errors and wild pitching to score three unearned runs in the fifth inning to tie the score.
The game remained tied until the top half of the ninth inning.
Jay Stout was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and was moved to third on a double by Yale Rosen to deep left field. Brad Farnum followed with a fly ball deep enough to allow Stout to score the go-ahead run from third base. After a ground out, Wade Burns stroked a single to center field to score Yale Rosen with an insurance run.
Ryan Byrne set the side down in order in ninth inning including striking out the last two Burlington batters to seal the victory.
“We took first place out of an 11 team field, which is a huge accomplishment for this young team,” said coach Van Dam.
Josh Evans was named the game’s MVP for pitching six strong innings scattering seven hits and allowing only four runs.
Byrne closed out the game by pitching the final three innings facing the minimum of nine batters during his stint on the mound.
Van Dam said the Oak Harbor defense was superb throughout the game, committing no errors and turning two clutch double plays in the final two innings.
The offense was led by Burns, who had three hits and two RBI. Sam Wolfe and J.D. Wilcox had two hits apiece.
Oak Harbor travels to Walla Walla for a six-game tournament beginning Thursday and will try its hand against some of the very talented Eastern Washington teams. Teams from Idaho, Oregon and Utah will also play in the tournament.