Baseball: Sherwood falls 19-10 to Wilsonville in the rain-soaked NWOC opener
by: JAIME VALDEZ, HOMEWARD BOUND – Sherwood junior Johnny Wade heads for home on an RBI hit by Alex Wert in the second inning of Monday’s rain-soaked game. The Bowmen fell 19-10 in the NWOC opener.

WILSONVILLE - The Sherwood baseball team figures pitching and defense will be the strength of this year's squad, proving so with a pair of shutout victories to open the season.

Monday's Northwest Oregon Conference opener against Wilsonville did little to support the claim, though difficult weather conditions more than contributed to the Bowmen's 19-10 loss to the Wildcats.

Sherwood walked 12 batters and hit seven more, blowing an early 5-0 lead in a five-inning game played during a persistent rainfall on the turf field at Wilsonville High School.

'The weather had some part to play, but that shouldn't be an excuse,' Bowmen left fielder Aaron Czyzewski said. 'The conditions shouldn't have stopped us from doing anything. It was frustrating for our pitchers, but they'll be fine.'

Czyzewski hit a two-run homer to cap Sherwood's five-run first inning with all the scoring coming with two outs. Taylor Hill beat out an infield single and stole second before coming home on designated hitter Travis Setere's hard grounder up the middle for a 1-0 lead.

After Jason Erwin walked, Travis Boehm hit a lazy fly ball to right that the fielder dropped for a two-base error, plating Setere and Erwin. Czyzewski followed by lacing his third home run of the season down the left field line for an early 5-0 lead.

'It's luck, though,' said Czyzewski, who was DH'd for or batted ninth much of last season.

The teams traded runs with Sherwood moving ahead 6-1 in the top of the second when Alex Wert hit a one-out single into left field, scoring Johnny Wade. But the Bowmen left the bases loaded and then self-destructed on the mound in the bottom of the inning.

Wilsonville scored eight runs in the frame, but hardly had to take the bat off their shoulders. The Wildcats took advantage of seven straight batters either walking or getting hit by a pitch to plate seven two-out runs. Wilsonville's free carousel around the bases came from three different Bowmen pitchers and allowed the Wildcats to take a 9-6 lead before Derek Kotowski's strikeout ended the misery.

'Pitching and defense is our strength and has been until tonight,' Setere said. 'The conditions had a lot to do with that. It was difficult. The pitchers had a hard time with it.'

Sherwood left the bases loaded again in a scoreless third then issued five more free passes (three walks, two hit by pitch) in the bottom of the inning, including three with the bases loaded as Wilsonville took a 13-6 lead.

The Bowmen turned the table on the Wildcats in the fourth, following Setere's single with walks to Erwin and Boehm before Kotowski drew a bases-loaded walk and Nate Hickok was hit by a pitch to plate a pair of runs. But back-to-back strikeouts looking left the bases filled with Bowmen for the third straight inning.

'We needed to put the ball in play when we had the bases loaded,' Czyzewski said.

Wilsonville scored a run in the bottom of the fourth for a 14-8 lead, but Hickok - Sherwood's fourth pitcher of the game - got out of a bases-loaded jam when third baseman Boehm fielded a grounder and stepped on third to end the inning.

After three walks loaded the bases in the fifth, Kotowski's fly ball into shallow left was lost in the lights, dropping between the left fielder and shortstop as Erwin and Boehm scored to make it 14-10. But the Wildcats pulled away with five more runs in the bottom of the inning before the umpire called the game with two outs, citing lack of light to call balls and strikes due to a non-functioning light tower over the batter's box.

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