Baseball: Oak Harbor knocks off Arlington in playoff game; goes to Shorewood Wednesday

One loser-out game down, one to go for the Oak Harbor High School baseball team’s quest to reach the district tournament.

The Wildcats defeated visiting Arlington 5-2 today, May 4, to break a fifth-place tie in the Western Conference North and earned the right to go to Shorewood tomorrow, May 5, at 4 p.m.

The Thunderbirds (12-8) finished fourth in the Wesco South. The winner of the Oak Harbor-Shorewood elimination game will earn a berth in the double-elimination district tournament and a date at South champion Kamiak Saturday at 1 p.m. The Knights (14-3, 16-3) moved into the state’s top 10 this week.

Oak Harbor (6-10, 10-11) scored three runs in the first inning against Arlington (6-10, 6-14) Tuesday to take control, and sophomore pitcher Gabe Clark held the Eagles’ offense in check all afternoon.

Arlington won the first meeting between the two teams 13-4 last Tuesday, April 27, and in that game pitcher Austin Taylor threw a four-hitter against the ‘Cats. Oak Harbor ripped into Taylor early this time around. With one out, Pat Higbee singled and Yale Rosen doubled. Kian Mebane chased them home with a two-run single. A Brad Farnum walk and Jay Stout bunt single loaded the bases. Josh Evans plated Mebane with a sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats added another run in the second. Sam Wolfe and Higbee walked. A Rosen grounder to second forced Higbee at second and moved Wolfe to third.

On the next pitch, Rosen stole second. The throw bounced off the Eagle covering second and allowed Wolfe to scoot home.

Arlington finally touched Clark for a run in the sixth. With one out, the Eagles rapped back-to-back singles. They had only two hits coming into the inning. The runners moved up on a ground out, then one scored on a wild pitch.

Oak Harbor answered with its own run in the sixth thanks to two Arlington mistakes. Stout reached on an error, moved up on an Evans’ single, then scored on another error.

The Eagles put up the game’s final run in the seventh. After an out, Arlington reached on Oak Harbor’s only error of the game. Then came Clark’s only walk of the game. The two runners advanced a base on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly scored the run.

Stout finished the day 2-for-3 with a run and stolen base.

The win was the second in a row for Oak Harbor over Arlington. After the 13-4 trashing last Tuesday, the Wildcats came back to win 6-4 the next day when it scored six runs with two outs in the seventh inning.

Oak Harbor coach Tyson VanDam pointed to Clark when commenting on the key to the win in the playoff game. “We didn’t give them free base runners.” In the 13-4 loss, Oak Harbor pitchers walked 12. Clark had no walks in the 6-4 win last Wednesday and just one in today’s victory.

Clark finished with a four-hitting, striking out two and giving up no earned runs.

Oak Harbor and Shorewood have three common opponents.

The Wildcats lost to Edmonds-Woodway 15-7 in the second game of the year; Oak Harbor was missing several of its key players in that game. Shorewood split with E-W last week, defeating the Warriors 8-2 before losing 5-7. Edmonds finished one spot below Shorewood in the South standings.

Shorewood started the season by defeating Everett 13-3 and Cascade 10-0. Oak Harbor took two from Everett and split with the Bruins.

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