A view from the top
Baseball: With their win over St. Helens, the Bowmen take charge in the race for the first NWOC championship
SHERWOOD - It's not a secret.
The Bowmen aren't trying to hide the fact.
There's a certain accomplishment they want to claim all for themselves.
They want to be the first ever Northwest Oregon Conference champions.
And, so far, the Sherwood baseball team looks to be on the right path to realizing that lofty goal.
The Bowmen, on Saturday, took another step toward that achievement as they powered their way to a 6-3 win over St. Helens in a NWOC game played at Sherwood High School.
'That's the goal we're working for every day,' said Sherwood senior Travis Boehm, who was the winning pitcher in Saturday's contest. 'We want to be the first NWOC champion.
'It's our goal,' said senior Taylor Hill, who recorded the save on the mound in relief while also ripping a two-run triple. 'We want to win the rest of our games and win league.'
With the victory over the Lions on Saturday, Sherwood improved its league-leading NWOC record to 8-1 (12-2 overall). That gave the Bowmen a two-game lead at that point over both Glencoe and St. Helens, which fell to 6-3 in league games with the loss on Saturday.
'This was a nice win,' Sherwood coach Jon Strohmaier said. 'We're taking it one game at a time, but we want to be the first NWOC champ - it's our goal.'
Boehm played a key role in Saturday's victory. The No. 4 pitcher in the Bowmen's rotation, the right-hander, making his first start of the season, pitched 5 2/3 strong innings, giving up three runs while scattering eight hits.
'I tried to stay calm,' Boehm said with a smile. 'I love pressure. It drives you.'
'Travis got his chance and he did a great job,' Hill said.
The Bowmen grabbed the early lead in Saturday's game, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Nate Hickok got things started with a one-out double to left field. Boehm then reached base on a St. Helens error.
Senior Aaron Czyzewski followed with a single to left, driving in Hickok to give Sherwood a 1-0 lead. One out later, Hill tripled to right, plating both Boehm and junior Johnny Wade, upping the margin to 3-0.
The Bowmen added another run in the third inning. Junior Travis Setere led off with a single to left. He moved to third on a one-out double by junior Jason Erwin and then scored on a groundout by Boehm.
Sherwood pushed the lead to 5-0 in the fifth inning when senior Derek Kotowski hit a one-out single to center and later scored on a two-out single by Boehm.
The Lions got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, putting two runs across in the frame. Sophomore Brad Welter had an RBI single in the inning and sophomore Taylor Webster scored on a balk.
Sherwood answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame. Hill hit a one-out single to right and he eventually scored on a St. Helens error to make the score 6-2.
The Lions, getting singles by senior Nick Ross and junior Matt Lokken and an RBI double off the bat of junior Brennan Burright, cut the lead to 6-3 and they had the potential game-tying run at the plate with one out. But Hill got the next batter to ground into a 1-5-4 double play, with both runners being tagged out in rundowns, to end the game.
'This is really big,' Boehm said. 'We always say that the next game is the most important, but this one was special. The defense was great. That's a prideful thing for us.'
The defensive effort included a pair of double plays, including the game-ender, a spectacular diving catch by junior center fielder Sam Karpeles and a potential base-stealer thrown out by senior catcher Alex Wert.
'Our defense is solid,' Hill said. 'On offense, we're right there.'
Sherwood had nine hits in Saturday's victory. Hill and Erwin each had two hits while Hickok, Czyzewski, Setere, Kotowski and Boehm had one hit apiece.
Prior to the win over St. Helens, Sherwood scored a 5-3 win at Wilsonville on April 11 and a 3-1 home victory over Liberty on Friday. Wade was the winning pitcher at Wilsonville and Hickok pitched the Bowmen past Liberty. Hill had saves in both of those games. Czyzewski turned in a defensive gem in the victory over the Falcons as he threw out a Liberty runner who tried to score from third on a fly ball.
Sherwood's scheduled game with Hillsboro was rained out both Monday and Tuesday.
The Bowmen were scheduled to play at Parkrose on Wednesday. Results of that game weren't available when the Times went to press. Sherwood will be back in action Friday when it plays at Glencoe at 4:30 p.m. On Monday, the Bowmen will be home to face Century at 4:30 p.m.