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Baseball: Shorewood ends Oak Harbor's season
Two home runs and the pitching of Kevin Moriarty carried host Shorewood over Oak Harbor 3-2 Wednesday, May 5, in the play-in game for the district tournament.
The win puts the Thunderbirds (13-8) into the district tournament which starts Saturday. The Wildcats, trying to reach district for the first time since 1994, were eliminated.
Oak Harbor (10-12) scored two in the second inning to take the early lead.
With one out Kian Mebane singled sharply, and then Josh Evans and Nate Young both battled back from 1-2 counts to walk to load the bases. Justin Counts tapped back to the mound, by Moriarty’s throw home sailed by the catcher and Mebane scored. Sam Wolfe followed by grounding to third; Young scored on the play.
Mebane’s base hit would be the final one for Oak Harbor for the day; Yale Rosen singled in the first inning.
Moriarty finished with a two-hitter over six and a third innings. He struck out 10 and walked five. Oak Harbor coach Tyson VanDam said, “He is a tough kid to hit; he’s a legitimate pitcher.”
Early in the game Moriarty struggled throwing his breaking ball for strikes. After the second inning, he found the zone with his off-speed pitches, mixed them in with his powerful fastball and shut Oak Harbor down.
He almost didn’t make it out of the second inning. After Oak Harbor scored its two runs and reloaded the bases, Shorewood coach Wyatt Tompkins was on the verge of replacing Moriarty, put the big right-hander coaxed a ground ball out of Rosen to end the threat.
Moriarty wasn’t the only pitching star. Jay Stout pitched “amazing” for Oak Harbor, according to VanDam.
Trevor Mitsui homered in the third for the Thunderbirds. The pitch was in the right spot, according to VanDam. “He just muscled it out.”
Max Jacobs led off the fourth with another home run to tie it up. Back-to-back singles put runners at the corners. Stout picked the runner off first, but during the run down, the runner on third broke for the plate and the throw was late. That turned out to be the winning run.
The Wildcats had just one more base runner until the seventh when Wolfe was hit by a pitch with one out. Tompkins brought in left-hander Blake Snell to face the left-handed hitting Stout and Rosen. Snell put them down in order and earned the save.
VanDam said, “It was a good game. We made some strides from last year and we didn’t fold.”
Oak Harbor will return five of the nine players who started the Shorewood game and its entire pitching staff next year.