After tough first game, Fishermen get first wins of season

<I>GARY HENLEY photo</I><BR>Nick Leonard pitched the opener for IHS.

Toledo trounces Fishermen 9-2 in openerLONG BEACH - Toledo led 2-1 going into the sixth inning, but a rash of walks and errors opened the flood gates as the Indians trounced the Fishermen 9-2 in their Southwest Washington baseball league lid-lifter Tuesday.

In the initial frame, Ilwaco looked like they would take control of the game as Mike Huitt made a fine running catch in right field to thwart the Indians threat and Alex Martin led off for the home team with a wind-blown double. Nick Leonard smashed a screaming line drive to right center, but Cameron Steveson's diving catch and subsequent throw caught Martin off second base for a double play. The next hitter, Mooch Smith, reached on an error, but he too was gunned down trying to advance to second.

"Their center fielder battled the wind and sun and made a great catch that turned the inning and maybe the game around," Coach Kevin Heimbigner said.

Second baseman Paul Blaylock in the second inning and first baseman Bobby Crislip in the third kept Toledo off the score board with excellent defensive plays. Catcher Smith gunned down two would-be base stealers and was solid behind the plate in keeping the ball in front of him, despite a finger injury late in the contest.

The Fishermen netted the lead in the bottom of the third frame on Blaylock's single, Quinn Padgett's walk, and a single on an "excuse me" swing by Nick Leonard. After taking the lead however, Ilwaco's next 10 hitters were retired in order.

Leonard, who pitched the first 5 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out three, was victimized by two outfield errors in the fourth, giving Toledo two unearned runs and the 2-1 lead.

The Indians broke the game wide open with three hits in the sixth inning and took full advantage of three Ilwaco errors, two walks, and two hit batsmen to score five runs. They tacked on two unearned runs in the seventh.

Anthony Wirkkala fouled off three two-strike pitches and eventually worked a walk to lead off the seventh. Blaylock and Padgett also walked and pinch runner Colten Chalker scored on a balk, but the Fishermen, who garnered only three hits on the day, were unable to score any more runs.

"We've set a goal to have five or fewer walks and errors and tonight we had a total of a dozen," Heimbigner said. "It's disappointing for the guys because we have played so much better in practice. Their pitching also kept us off-stride all night. We only struck out three times, but did not drive the ball like we are capable of."

Toledo is off to a 3-0 start while Ilwaco is 0-1. "We did a lot of things right in the first five innings, but it's a seven-inning game," Heimbigner concluded succinctly.

Morgan (W), McKenzie (4), Spencer (5), Reed (7) and Winters; Leonard (L), Ostgaard (6), Wirkkala (6) and Smith. 2B-Martin (I), Steveson (T)

Wirkkala, Ostgaard twirl no-hitter at winless Winlock 14-2WINLOCK - Anthony Wirkkala and Travis Ostgaard combined to hurl a no-hitter at winless Winlock there Thursday in a Southwest Washington 14-2 victory. The Fishermen banged out 14 hits and 12 different players reached base safely for the winners.

Wirkkala struck out five in his three innings of toil and Ostgaard used his breaking ball effectively in whiffing four in his two innings on the mound. Each chucker walked a batter and hit a Cardinal with a pitch. Mooch Smith threw out one base stealer from his catcher's position and Wirkkala picked off a runner on a tumbling tag from Paul Blaylock.

The Fishermen rolled six runs across the plate in the second to effectively put the game away early. Bobby Crislip and Blaylock led off the big inning with singles, Devin Banister walked to load the bases and Quinn Padgett's base knock to right scored two tallies. Alex Martin's base pop down the right field line fell in safely and brought in another run and Nick Leonard's double to the centerfield fence cleared the bases. Smith's single, stolen base, and a base hit from Wirkkala capped the six-run inning.

The Fishermen reserves accounted for most of the damage in the four-run fourth frame. Jordan DeSimone, Colten Chalker, Martin, and Leonard all worked the Card pitchers for bases on balls and Thomas Jenkins and Smith blasted RBI singles through the infield.

Smith was 3-4 with four RBIs and Leonard 2-3 with a double and four RBIs to lead the Fishermen hit parade. Martin, Blaylock, and Padgett each had two hits, with Padgett garnering three RBIs. Fifteen Ilwaco batsmen went to the plate as Coach Kevin Heimbigner substituted liberally and 12 of them reached base safely and eight had base hits.

"We played much better against a team that is struggling," Heimbigner said. "Obviously Anthony and Travis pitched well, but we still need to work on baserunning decisions and on defense."

Wirkkala (W), Ostgaard (4) and Smith; Jolsom (L), Ekstedt (3), Tryon (5) and Dickey. 2b-Leonard, Wirkkala

Fishermen pitchers bridle stubborn Mules 8-5LONG BEACH - Anthony Wirkkala's pair of 2-RBI singles and the clutch pitching of Nick Leonard and Travis Ostgaard spurred Ilwaco past the Mules of Cathlamet 8-5 in non-league baseball play Friday.

The Fishermen rallied for six runs in the first inning on six bases on balls and line drive singles from Wirkkala, Bobby Crislip, and Ostgaard.

Leonard was masterful on the mound, striking out six Wahkiakum hitters in three innings and only allowing one infield hit. Alex Martin's sliding catch in right center ended the third with Ilwaco up 6-0.

The Mules kicked up their heels in the fourth, denting home three times on a pair of doubles, a single, and one of three Fishermen errors on the day. Ostgaard came on in relief of Wirkkala and quickly struck out the final hitter to end Cathlamet's rally.

In the bottom of the fourth frame Leonard worked a base on balls, Smith reached on an infield hit, and Wirkkala drove both home with another single after the two runners had moved up on a wild pitch.

Cathlamet picked up runs in the fifth on Ilwaco's only walk of the day and in the sixth on an outfield misplay. Second baseman Paul Blaylock's diving stop of a grounder ended further damage in the fifth and Martin's running catch on the warning track in deep center kept the stubborn Mules at bay in the sixth.

Ostgaard, who struck five in his three and one-third innings of mound work, baffled the final Wahkiakum hitter with a pair of curve balls to end the contest with a called strike three.

"We kept the walks plus errors to four (our goal is to limit them to less than five per game) and the kids hung together when we could have panicked after Cathlamet came back on us," Coach Kevin Heimbigner said. "We showed maturity tonight, a lot of guys contributed to beat a quality team, and Travis and Nick really gave us a lift with their pitching."

Fifteen Fishermen played in the field and 12 of them were on base in the contest. Home plate umpire Richard Moore from Castle Rock was also behind the plate in 1973 during the first high school baseball game Heimbigner ever coached while at Toutle Lake. His team beat Toledo by the same 8-5 score that day also.

McNally (L), Mogush (3), Most (6) and Bain; Leonard (W), Wirkkala (4), Ostgaard (4), and Smith

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