The frustrating 2007 season came to an end for the Oak Harbor baseball team Tuesday with an 8-0 loss to Marysville-Pilchuck.
A season that began with high aspirations for a team with depth and experience ended with the Wildcats being shutout in two consecutive games by the Tomahawks.
Oak Harbor coach Jim Waller said the team’s lack of success in 2007 had a lot to do with injuries to starting pitchers Marshall Lobbestael and Brendan Kays, nagging little injuries that kept other players out of games and illness that affected the entire team.
“I’ve coached for 29 years and I’ve never had a season where we had so many players miss games due to illness,” he said. “Over 29 years I had maybe five kids miss games because they were sick. This year we had five different kids miss games and two of them missed over a week. We never could get our whole crew healthy at one time.”
For the final game of the season, the Wildcats donned uniform shirts that were more than 20 years old, but even drawing on tradition for luck didn’t help.
Early on in the contest it was a pitching duel between left hand-
ers Ricky Holm from Marysville-Pilchuck and the Wildcats’ Bryan Hornbaker before the Tomahawks scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning on four hits and an error.
“Probably the major difference in the season for us were injuries to our two starting pitchers,” Waller said. “Both of them were injured early in the season and we could never get them completely healthy. Our season is so short, you don’t have time to recover from an injury. People we talked to said they were glad they didn’t have to face Marshall and Brendan any more than they did this year.”
Marysville-Pilchuck tacked on two additional runs in the top of the sixth inning and two more in the seventh.
For the majority of the game, Oak Harbor’s bats were silent.
After collecting just one hit in Monday’s 9-0 loss to Marysville-Pilchuck, the Wildcats had only three safeties in Tuesday’s game.
James Cardinal tripled with one out in the second inning for what would have been the Wildcats’ only extra-base hit in the game, but he was called out for failing to touch second base.
“It was a tough year for us and we really expected to do a lot better than we did,” Waller said. “We had some bad luck and at times we just didn’t play very well. Combine that with the injuries and the illnesses and some bad decisions made by both players and the coaching staff, and that pretty much sums up the season for us. The positive thing for us this season was that the kids kept playing hard and didn’t ‘tank it’ when things were going bad. We never had any disciplinary or academic problems with any of the players this season and everybody on the team got along. That made it a pleasure to coach.”
The Wildcats finish the season 4-12 in WesCo North league games and 5-14 overall.