Mental mistakes by base runners and three errors sent Oak Harbor down to its fifth straight WesCo North loss when Stanwood scored two runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh to defeat the Wildcats 5-0.
Oak Harbor starting pitcher Brandan Kays had his stuff for the first five innings of Tuesday’s game.
The senior right-hander recorded seven strikeouts during the first three innings of play, including fanning the side in the second, and pitched his way out of trouble with a Spartan runner on third base and one out in the top of the fourth.
However things went south, as they’ve done in too many Wildcat games this season, in the top of the sixth inning.
Pat Bliss led the inning off for Stanwood by hitting a hard ground ball that took a bad hop past shortstop Marshall Lobbestael.
Catcher Jordan Northrup followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run base hit through the vacated hole at second base and when the throw from the outfield sailed over Oak Harbor third
baseman Partick Higbee’s head, Bliss trotted home with the first run of the game.
With Josh Dawkins pinch running for Northrup, the Spartans put the squeeze play on, but the batter failed to get the bunt down.
Dawkins was hung up in a rundown and was out dead to rights at home plate, but the tag was dropped and Stanwood scored its second unearned run.
The Spartans put three additional runs on the board in the seventh inning off Oak Harbor relief pitcher Gary Ellis.
Oak Harbor (2-7, 3-9) put runners on base and had chances to score, but missed signs resulted in getting runners thrown out and Stanwood pitcher Trevor Stahl picked two runners off first base in key situations.
James Cardinal and Ernie Martinez were both two-for-three for the Wildcats.