North Marion wins four of five games to open the 2014 spring season

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Kyle Williamson has gotten off to a hot start in his follow-up campaign after being named Tri-Valley Player of the Year and getting selected to the 2013 OSAA 4A all-state First Team. The senior shortstop has reached base in 11 of 20 trips to the plate this season. He leads the Huskies with eight hits and eight runs scored, and he is tied with Emry Patterson with a team-high four stolen bases.After being unceremoniously knocked out of the first round in last year’s playoffs, the North Marion baseball didn’t miss a beat in picking up the pieces and starting the 2014 season on the right foot.

The Huskies front-loaded their preseason schedule with a number of difficult teams to open the season last week, playing five games in six days, including four squads that advanced to the state playoffs in 2013. Despite the difficult schedule, North Marion cut through their opposition with relative ease, going 4-1 over the week while outscoring opponents by a 30-13 margin.

The team capped its successful start with its first road game of the season Saturday, traveling to Newport to take on the 2013 4A runner-up Cubs in a 10-6 victory.

In a game that was ugly at times for both teams, the Huskies took advantage of their opponents miscues to develop a 10-3 lead heading into the final inning. The two teams combined for seven errors, but Newport compounded their miscues by giving North Marion easy scoring opportunities to the tune of four walks and four hit batters.

The Huskies pounced on those opportunities, using four doubles to drive in the majority of their runs. Senior first baseman Tristan Wampole added a two-run home run, the second of his career, to help the Huskies reach double-digit runs for the second time this season.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion junior Hunter Beachy got the start on Wednesday against Corvallis. Beachy struck out five and surrendered two unearned runs in a 2-1 loss, the Huskies only defeat in five games last week. North Marions pitching staff has enjoyed a solid start to the season, as Beachy, Jordan Kendall, Emry Patterson and Brock Breshears have combined to give up slightly more than two earned runs per game.Emry Patterson got the start on the mound for North Marion, striking out a career-high seven batters in six innings. The Cubs attempted to rally in the seventh inning, but the Huskies shut down their opponents after three runs to secure the win.

On Friday, the Huskies played their final home game of the week, falling behind early to Philomath before scoring three runs in the third inning to take a permanent lead en route to a 5-3 win.

Jordan Kendall got the start and surrendered two quick runs to the Warriors, but settled down and struck out seven batters while shutting out Philomath over the next six innings to pick up the victory.

Offensively, Emry Patterson led the way with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate with a pair of RBIs, tying Wampole for the team lead.

The Huskies best game of the week came Thursday against the visiting 5A Wilsonville Wildcats, a team that beat North Marion last year to open the 2013 season. This time, the Huskies turned the tables and built a 6-0 lead that bloomed into a 12-2 victory.

Brock Breshears struck out three and gave up two runs on the mound, while going 1-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Wampole went 2-for-2 with a game-high four RBIs as seven different Huskies combined for 12 hits on the day.

The win came on the heels of the team’s only loss, a 2-1 game Wednesday against the Corvallis Spartans, another 5A team that advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2013.

Wampole gave the Huskies an early lead after driving in Kyle Williamson on a sacrifice fly to open the game. That looked like it would be enough for the win, as the two teams combined to go scoreless over the next five innings. Hunter Beachy was nearly flawless as North Marion’s starting pitcher, striking out five while walking just one batter in six innings. But a pair of Husky errors opened the door just enough for Corvallis to score a pair of runs in the sixth and hold on for the victory.

Williamson led the team on offense, going 3-for-4 at the plate and accounting for half of North Marion’s hit total.

Finally, the Huskies opened their week with a 2-0 shutout over Scappoose, thanks to clutch hitting by Williamson and pitching from Breshears. Williamson went 2-for-2 at the plate and scored North Marion’s only runs, while Breshears added five strikeouts over four scoreless innings. Patterson and Kendall kept the shutout intact with three innings of scoreless relief pitching.

In all, the Huskies couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2014 season. Wampole and Williamson, both First Team all-state selections last year, picked up where they left off. After the first week, Williamson leads the team with eight hits, eight runs and four stolen bases, while Wampole’s nine RBIs are also a team-high. Patterson, an all-league selection last year, leads the team in batting average (.500) after the first week, and Breshears - a 2013 all-state pitcher - leads a stable of pitchers that has struck out 34 batters in five games while giving up just 10 earned runs.

The Huskies (4-1) were scheduled to continue their season Monday, hosting the annual North Marion Spring Break Tournament. The two-day round-robin tournament was moved up a day to avoid rainy weather that was forecasted for later in the week.

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