Baseball: Oak Harbor, Cascade split; remain tied in standings

The Oak Harbor and Cascade high school baseball teams split a double header Friday, April 23, each team winning 7-6 on the Bruins’ diamond.

The split did nothing to clear up the murky playoff picture for the Wildcats and left both Oak Harbor and Cascade tied for fourth with 5-7 records with four games left.

The top four teams automatically qualify for the district tournament. The fifth-place team in the Wesco North will have to play the fourth-place team in the Wesco South to determine the final district entry.

In Friday’s double header, both games featured heart-stopping finishes.

In the first game won by Cascade, Oak Harbor rallied from a 5-2 deficit with a four-run seventh to take a 6-5 lead, but the comeback was erased by a botched play in Cascade’s half of the inning.

With two outs and the bases loaded, the Bruin batter popped up. What should have been an easy third out fell between two infielders. Two runs scored and Cascade won.

Cascade got on the score board first in the first inning when an infield hit, walk and two ground puts produced a run.

Oak Harbor came back to take the lead with a two-run second. Pat Higbee walked, then was forced at second on a grounder by Kian Mebane. An error off the bat of Josh Evans and a single by Nate Young loaded the bases. Sam Wolfe’s grounder to short turned into a two-base error and allowed the Wildcats to pick up a pair of runs.

Cascade quickly got the runs back in the bottom of the second on back-to-back home runs off Oak Harbor starter Ryan Byrne.

The Bruins scored single runs in the fifth and sixth to take a 5-2 lead into the final inning.

Oak Harbor loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Mebane, a single by Evans and an error to Young. Wade Burns’ sacrifice fly to center produced one run, and Wolfe’s single drove in another. Jay Stout completed the rally with a two-run triple.

It was a bad omen in the bottom of the seventh when Cascade started the inning on back-to-back infield hits against reliever Evans.

Evans struck out the next hitter and got a ground out for the second out. A walk loaded the bases. Then came the gut-wrenching, game-deciding pop up.

Stout finished 2-for-4 with his triple and two RBI. Evans was 2-for-3 with two runs.

Brad Farnum was hit by a pitch for the 12th time this season, a new school record.

The second game not only had the same score, it also featured a big last-inning rally by the losing team.

Oak Harbor was the “home” team because the game was a makeup contest for a rainout in Oak Harbor earlier in the week. The Wildcats, showing no lasting effects from the first-game melt down, scored three runs in the first inning.

Wolfe and Stout walked and Yale Rosen drilled a two-run double. Farnum singled Rosen to third, then Rosen scored on a ground out by Mebane.

Cascade go two in the second and the score remained 3-2 until Oak Harbor scored four in the fourth.

Justin Counts doubled, then moved to third when Cascade failed to get him at third on Wolfe’s ground ball. Stout singled in Counts, then he and Wolfe scored on Rosen’s three-run blast over the left-centerfield fence.

Cascade scored a single run in the sixth, then headed to the seventh down 7-3.

Gabe Clark entered the seventh pitching a three-hitter for Oak Harbor. The Bruins exploded for five hits and three runs in the seventh. All of the runs and three of the hits came with two outs. The Bruins finished the game with runners at first and second; this team the Oak Harbor defense made the plays to secure the win.

Rosen was 2-for-4 with two runs and five RBI. Clark upped his record to 5-1 and picked up four strikeouts and walked just one.

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