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Sherwood surpasses goals

HILLSBORO — The Sherwood-based Tonkin Nissan baseball team was aiming at just getting to the OIBA State Tournament.

Well, not only did the Sherwood squad get there, but the team, behind some impressive pitching and solid defense, made plenty of noise once it got there.

Tonkin Nissan, which gave up just a total of two runs in its first three tournament games, went 2-2 at the 16-team, double-elimination event, which was held at Clackamas High School and Hare Field in Hillsboro.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” Tonkin Nissan coach Jon Strohmaier said after the team was edged 2-0 by McMinnville in a winners’ bracket quarterfinal game played July 25 at Hare Field. “Our pitching has been pretty good, and our defense has been pretty good. We just need to find a way to put more runs on the scoreboard.”

The Tonkin Nissan team, featuring many young players, finished its season with a final overall record of 21-12.

“We’ve definitely improved a lot,” said Sherwood High School senior-to-be Alex Barzee, who played at third base for the Tonkin Nissan squad. “We want to go as far as we can.”

The Sherwood squad opened the OIBA tourney with a 10-0 win over Hillsboro back o July 24, with Riley Moore pitching a no-hitter in that contest (see the July 26 issue of The Times for story).

That put Tonkin Nissan in the July 25 quarterfinal game with McMinnnville. And, in that game, Jake Reimer, a Sherwood junior-to-be, picked up right where Moore left off the day before, as he no-hit McMinnville for the first four innings of that contest.

“Yeah, I was thinking about it,” Reimer said of throwing a no-hitter. “I was just trying to throw strikes.”

“Jake was outstanding today,” Strohmaier said.

But so was McMinnville pitcher Nick Springer, who also started the game with four innings of no-hit ball.

Barzee had the first hit of the contest, with a leadoff single to left field to start the top of the fifth inning. He moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Sherwood, but he was left stranded there.

McMinnville got its first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Garrett Adams had a leadoff bloop single to left field. Curtis Cooper followed with a bunt single, with Reimer slipping and falling as he tried to field the ball.

But Tonkin Nissan got out of the jam, as Reimer and Barzee combined to start a 1-5-3 on a bunt by Springer, with Barzee making a rifle throw to Travis Kotowski at first base to complete the double play.

It was one of a handful of key defensive plays Barzee made during the contest.

“I was just doing the things I need to do,” Barzee said.

McMinnville was able to break through in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring a pair of runs to break the scoreless tie. McMinnville drew a pair of walks and, with two outs in the inning, Gage Gubrud came up with a two-run double.

Cyrus Mooney, sprinting to his right, was nearly able to come up with a clutch catch of Gubrud’s line drive toward the gap in left-center field, but he wasn’t quite able to come up with a spectacular catch.

Springer then put Sherwood down in order in the top of the seventh to wrap up McMinnville’s 2-0 victory.

“That was a great game,” Strohmaier said. “I was more proud of the guys today than I was yesterday. They played hard from start to finish. That’s all you can ask.”

Reimer, in five and two-thirds innings of work, gave up two runs on three hits while striking out four and walking three.

“I felt really good all game,” he said. “It was an intense game.”

“It was fun,” Barzee said. “We could have done a little better hitting.”

Sherwood had just one hit, Barzee’s single, in the contest. Reimer, Barzee, Joseph Balfour and Jake Urbach each drew a walk in the game.

Tonkin Nissan bounced back from the close loss to score a 1-0 win over Grant in an elimination bracket second-round game played last Thursday at Hare Field.

Zak Taylor threw a complete-game shutout in that victory, giving up four hits and striking out nine. Sherwood drove in the only run of the game with a squeeze bunt in the sixth inning.

Later in the day, the Sherwood squad saw its tourney stay come to an end with an 11-2 loss to Tualatin.



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