Flip puts IHS in fourth slot going into district tourney, begin play Weds at noon

<I>DAMIAN MULINIX photo</I><BR>IHS shortstop Nick Leonard was one of three Fishermen to hit a home run in a game against Onalaska last week.

NAPAVINE-It may not have been the strangest game ever, but it would at least make the list of one of the longest, as Napavine knocked off Ilwaco 10-8 in the completion of a suspended and twice-postponed contest Saturday.

The game would not have even been completed, if not for a Toledo/Rainier tie in the Southwest Washington 1A League. A loss to Napavine would have also put Ilwaco at 7-7 in the standings for places four through six.

Because of the loss to the Tigers, Ilwaco's berth in the District IV Tournament, which begins Wednesday in Napavine, all came down to a series of coin flips. Ilwaco won the tosses to be seeded fourth and will take on Toledo at noon.

The game was originally set for March 21, but was called off due to weather. The schools then agreed to play April 14 and again the game was postponed, this time by a steady downpour.

The next try was April 20 in Long Beach as the second half of a doubleheader, the first of which Ilwaco won 9-4 against the last-place Tigers. The second contest was scoreless after four innings as a steady drizzle and dark clouds caused the action to be suspended.

Saturday, Napavine pushed a run across in the bottom of the fifth frame to break the scoring ice. The Fishermen answered with what looked to be a game-clinching eight runs in the top of the sixth. The eighth-place Tigers then exploded for nine runs of their own on a compendium of Fishermen errors, walks, and a smattering of Tiger base hits to give the home team a 10-8 lead. Mike Garcia said the errors "contributed to a meltdown."

Ilwaco went scoreless in the top of the seventh. Jarod Schaak, Jon Biggs and Nick Leonard all went 2-for-4 at the plate. The Fishermen finished the season at 7-7 in league and a 9-9 varsity record.

They will play the winner or loser of the first-place Kalama and cellar-dwelling Napavine game at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the double-elimination district tournament. All eight of the SWW league baseball teams qualified and are vying for three tickets to state regionals.

Leonard, DeSimone (5), Martin (6) and Smith; Napavine battery unreported

Ilwaco beats Toledo, 5-4LONG BEACH - For the second time in four days, Anthony Wirkkala picked up a complete-game victory over a Southwest Washington League opponent, this time defeating Toledo 5-4 last Monday in a contest made up from an April 13 rain-out.

Wirkkala struck out nine Toledo players, walked three, allowed eight hits, and fielded five ground ball outs successfully in going the distance. He and his Fishermen mates had fashioned a 5-0 lead after four innings. But in the sixth, Toledo's first two hitters reached on walks. After a series of two throwing errors, the visitors scored their first run. Four consecutive singles brought in three more to make the score 5-4.

With runners on second and third following a wild pitch, Wirkkala got a weak ground out and a line out to second base to preserve the lead. He struck out the first two hitters he faced in the seventh and after a single by Toledo's Cody Chalker, caught a medium-depth fly ball in right field to seal the deal.

Consecutive singles by Jordan DeSimone, Alex Martin and Jarod Schaak produced a run in the second frame and Chalker's first hit of the season drove home two more to give Ilwaco a 3-0 lead they would not relinquish. Wirkkala's line drive base hit to left to lead off the third, a wild pitch, a fielder's choice, and a sacrifice fly upped the edge to 4-0.

Chalker walked in the fourth, moved to second on the Toledo's fifth wild pitch of the day, and scored on Nick Leonard's RBI double to right center to cap the scoring for the Fishermen.

Ben Martin, Danny Morgan (5) and Chad Taylor; Anthony Wirkkala and A.J. Smith

Fishermen split slugfests at Onalaska 14-10, 5-22ONALASKA - Ilwaco split a league doubleheader in Onalaska Thursday, winning the first contest by a football-like 14-10 score before being chopped down by the Loggers by an overwhelming count of 22-5 in the second game.

In the first contest, Anthony Wirkkala went all the way in picking up his third consecutive league victory in eight days, striking out nine. With but two days rest, he uncharacteristically gave up 10 runs and 13 hits, but hung on to record the final out after the Loggers had cut away at Ilwaco's lead by plating four runs in the final frame. Mike Garcia said Wirkkala "struggled mid-game, but had enough gas to close it out."

The Fishermen had fashioned an eight-run cushion going into the last inning in the opener on the strength of three home runs from Jordan DeSimone, Mooch Smith and Nick Leonard. Smith was 4-for-5 with four RBIs, Leonard 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI, and DeSimone was also 2-for-5 at the dish.

In game two it was all Onalaska, as they went up 8-0 in the second inning and added nine more runs in the fatal fourth frame. They finished off Ilwaco 22-5 in the mercy-rule five-inning nightcap. Nick Leonard was Ilwaco's losing pitcher as Onalaska pounded out 17 base hits. Seven errors by Ilwaco didn't help their cause either. Logger Scott Jarvis was 6-for-10 in the double dip and Bryce Avila hit two home runs on the day, giving him a total of 11 on the season.

Ilwaco's Ryan Garcia stroked a homer and Smith was 2-for-2 and DeSimone 2-for-3 as the Fishermen connected for six safeties in the game two whopping.

Wirkkala and Smith; Haskins, Osborn (6) and Best

Leonard and Smith; Bryce Avila and Colton Best

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