Baseball: The OIBA team powers its way to a 12-9 victory over Central Catholic
by: DAN BROOD TRIPLE TIME — Tonkin Nissan’s Dylan Flannery gets ready to slide to third base as he hit a triple during the Sherwood team’s win over Central Catholic.

SHERWOOD - Things look a bit different for the Sherwood-based Tonkin Nissan OIBA baseball team.

Many players who helped lead the Sherwood High School baseball team to the 2011 Class 5A state championship have graduated and aren't playing with the summer squad.

And, while the Tonkin-Nissan team does have a few players from the Bowmen championship squad, most of the group is made up of players new to the varsity level.

'We're just basically trying to figure out what we have for next year,' Tonkin Nissan coach Jon Strohmaier said following the Sherwood team's game with Central Catholic last week. 'We're young and we're making mistakes. That will be a part of it. This will be a learning process.'

And, while the young Sherwood players are learning, they're also winning.

The Tonkin Nissan squad rolled to a 12-9 win over Central Catholic in the game played July 6 at Sherwood High School, giving the team an 11-5 record to that point.

'We're learning to work together,' said Chase Krieger, a Sherwood High School senior-to-be, who was the winning pitcher in the game with Central Catholic. 'We're working hard and getting back to basics. I'm looking forward to next year. I think we can go get another state championship.'

The Sherwood team sure seemed to show a lot of potential in last week's game with Central Catholic.

Tonkin Nissan, after Krieger shut down Central Catholic in the top of the first inning, scored four runs in its half of the opening frame to claim the early lead.

Joseph Balfour, a Sherwood junior-to-be who was a starter for the Bowmen championship team, drew a leadoff walk to get the big inning started. Balfour moved to second on a groundout by Logan Ballarche and then scored when Connor Munro doubled to the fence in left-center field, giving Tonkin Nissan an early 1-0 lead.

Munro would score on an infield single by John Dailey, upping the lead to 2-0. Travis Dyer, who was hit by a pitch, and Dailey would both then score on Nate Montgomery's single down the right-field line, capping off the big inning and giving the Sherwood team a 4-0 advantage.

Tonkin Nissan kept rolling in the second inning, scoring six more runs.

Dylan Flannery led off the frame with a triple to right-center field. He then scored on a groundout by Balfour.

Ballarche followed with a walk and Munro then singled to right. Dyer then stepped up and launched a high, twisting three-run home run over the fence in right-center field, upping the lead to 8-0.

Dailey then singled and Montgomery drew a walk. Dailey ended up scoring on a Central Catholic throwing error and Montgomery scored on a single by Kyle Wilson to give the Sherwood team a double-digit lead at 10-0.

Central Catholic scored three runs in the third inning and then got a leadoff home run by Jack VanAllen in the fifth inning to trim the lead to 10-4.

Sherwood answered back with a run in its half of the fifth. Balfour led off the frame with a double to left-center field. He moved to third on a balk and then scored on a single by Taylor Bonawitz to make the score 11-4.

But Central Catholic, with Codi Scanlon hitting a two-run double, scored five runs in the sixth inning to trim the lead to 11-9.

Tonkin Nissan got a run back in the bottom of the sixth. Jacob Urbach reached base on a Central Catholic error and went on to score on another Central Catholic miscue to make the score 12-9.

Balfour, pitching in relief, shut down Central Catholic in the top of the seventh to secure the 12-9 victory.

'We still have to have everyone but into what it is to be part of a team,' Strohmaier said. 'It will take some time, but we have the pieces.'

'We're playing with high spirits,' Krieger said.

Krieger pitched five-plus innings in the contest. He gave up four runs on six hits while striking out two and walking none.

'I felt pretty good,' he said. 'I was hitting my spots.'

The Tonkin Nissan offense pounded out 11 hits in the victory. Munro went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Dailey added two hits while Montgomery, Flannery, Dyer, Wilson, Balfour and Bonawitz had one hit apiece.

On Friday, the Sherwood team swept a doubleheader with Hillsboro by scores of 15-5 and 8-2. On Monday, Tonkin Nissan was swept by Southridge by scores of 5-4 and 6-3.

Tonkin Nissan will be back in action today (Thursday) when it plays at Lake Oswego in a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m. On Friday, the Sherwood team travels to McMinnville for a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.

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