ILWACO - Three Fishermen pitchers combined for a one-hitter and Ilwaco banged out a dozen hits, including three each by Anthony Wirkkala and Ryan Garcia in a 12-1 non-league baseball game at Culbertson Field Wednesday.
Ilwaco broke out on top in the bottom of the first frame on hits by Garcia and Wirkkala and two Comet errors. Naselle countered in the second when Doug Wise lashed a double down the right field line. Matt Blain moved him up on a fielder's choice, and after Casey Heagy walked and was thrown out trying to steal second by Fishermen catcher Mooch Smith, Wise was credited with a steal of home.
Ilwaco broke the game open in the third, scoring five big runs on a walk, singles by Alex Martin, Garcia, and Nick Leonard, and a monstrous double to deep centerfield by Wirkkala. Wirkkala eventually scored on an infield error.
The fifth frame Jason Huntley led off with a double to right center for his initial varsity hit, Martin tripled to the fence in right center, then Garcia, Smith, Leonard, and Jordan DeSimone reached on singles to up the score to 12-1. DeSimone's single was on a perfectly placed bunt.
Naselle's Matt Blain pitched the first three frames and Casey Heagy finished up on the mound for Naselle. They combined for six strike outs and only one base on balls in a fine display of control.
Leonard pitched the first three innings for Ilwaco, giving up one walk while striking out four. Wirkkala worked two perfect innings and struck out two Comets while inducing four ground ball outs. DeSimone finished up on the hill for the Fishermen and the lefty got Naselle to ground out twice while striking out one.
Garcia was consistent at second base, fielding six chances flawlessly and Leonard made an exceptional play at shortstop and then later at second base going far to his left after his mound duties had been completed. Leonard also stole five bases, including a surprise theft of home on a 3-2 pitch with two outs. Ilwaco is 45-48 in stolen base attempts this season (94 percent).
Teams coaches did double duty as umpires as the men (and women) in blue from the Lower Columbia Officials Association were again AWOL. Kevin Ward volunteered to go behind the plate the final four frames and his work was greatly appreciated by all in attendance.
Both squads were short-handed due to spring vacation, although both coaches welcomed the work for their teams before they resume league play. Ilwaco was to go to Rainier Friday and host Ocosta Tuesday while the Comets were hoping to soar past North Beach on Monday. All were league contests for both teams.
Ilwaco is now 6-3 and on a four game win streak while Naselle is now 1-3-1.
Nick Leonard (W), Anthony Wirkkala (4), Jordan DeSimone (6) and Mooch Smith; Matt Blain (L), Casey Heagy (4) and Aoy Marion, Blain (4)
Rainier mounts late-rally to eek out 10-9 winRAINIER - Ilwaco got 20 of the 21 outs required to secure a win at Rainier Friday of spring break, but the Mountianeers plated a run before the Fishermen could secure the final call to win a 10-9 SWW league heart-breaker.
Ilwaco came out like gang-busters in the top of the first as Alex Martin slammed a triple to right center. Nick Leonard's double scored Martin and after a walk to Mooch Smith, Anthony Wirkkala's booming double to center gave the Fishermen a 3-0 lead with no outs. Unfortunately, a patchwork lineup decimated by injuries, ineligible players, and no shows was not able to bring Wirkkala in.
In the third Wirkkala singled, stole second, and came around on Ryan Garcia's ringing single. David Stull's first varsity hit down the right field line and Martin's double produced a 5-0 lead and Leonard's single up the middle made the count 6-0 at the half-way mark.
In the bottom of the fourth Rainier mounted a six-run attack on a plethora of bumps, bloops, and bleeders and four walks on three-and-two counts of which catcher Smith said, "At least two or three of those were strike outs."
Schaak doubled in the fifth and the Fishermen left the bases loaded and Smith's single, but subsequent pick-off on an obvious balk move in the sixth kept Ilwaco at bay at the Mountaineers' home field.
In the bottom of the sixth Rainier pounded out three hits and took advantage of two walks and a hit batsman to score three and take a 9-6 lead into the top of the seventh and final inning. Jordan DeSimone led off with a single, Stull worked a walk and an infield single by Martin loaded the bases with one out. Leonard was interfered with by the catcher's glove and grounded into a 6-3 double play, but the Fishermen got the correct call and he was awarded first base to make the score 6-4. Walks to Smith and Garcia knotted the contest at 9-9.
With the sacks full, two outs and a 3-2 count on Schaak, he blasted a frozen rope to centerfield. "I thought the ball would drop in front of him, but it kept carrying," Schaak explained as the Rainier outfielder gloved the ball for the third out. Had the ball gotten over the fielder's head all three Fishermen runners would have scored with ease.
A pair of walks, again on at least one controversial 3-2 pitch brought the winning run to second base with two outs for Rainier in the bottom of the seventh. A solidly hit fly ball to right field went untouched by the Ilwaco defense and the winning run scored moments later.
Martin was 3-4 with a single, double, and triple and an RBI. Leonard was 2-5 with a double and 3 RBI and Wirkkala 2-4 with a double and 2 RBI to lead the hit parade for the Fishermen. Garcia at second base was exceptional, handling five chances without a hitch and throwing out a runner at home in the sixth frame to curtail the Rainier rally. Smith at catcher threw out two of three would-be base stealers to nip Rainier's running game in the bud.
Wirkkala walked three and struck out eight in four and two-thirds innings of work and Nick Leonard struck out two and walked five in two innings of relief pitching.
Anthony Wirkkala, Nick Leonard (5), Wirkkala (7) and Mooch Smith; Cashore, Wilson, and Teague