Sherwood shuts out Sandy to move to 3-1 in league

by: DAN BROOD - POWER SWING -- Sherwood sophomore Adley Rutschman hits a double down the left-field line in Tuesday's win over Sandy. SHERWOOD — The Sherwood High School baseball team admits that it was struggling early on in the 2014 season.

But, now, the Bowmen squad says it’s playing more up to “Sherwood baseball” standards.

That means, among other things, getting gutsy pitching, playing solid defense, scoring any way possible — and winning.

The Bowmen did just that on Tuesday, as they put a quality game together on their way to posting a 6-0 win over Sandy in a Northwest Oregon Conference game played at Sherwood.

“This was a good game,” said Sherwood senior Riley Moore, who pitched five shutout innings for the Bowmen. “We had a rough start to the season, but it’s coming along. The rest of league should be good.”by: DAN BROOD - GOOD START -- Sherwood senior Riley Moore looks back at the dugout after hitting a leadoff double on Tuesday.

“We kind of started off slow,” said Sherwood first baseman Travis Kotowski, who had a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs in the win over the Pioneers. “But we’re picking it up. We’ve gotten down to playing Sherwood baseball, and we’re just getting better and better.”

With the loss, Sandy moved to 1-3 in NWOC play and to 4-8 on the season.

The Bowmen improved to 3-1 in conference games at that point, putting them in a tie with Rex Putnam for second place in the standings, one game behind first-place Liberty. Sherwood, which got off to a 2-5 start to the season, also evened its overall record at 6-6.

“We have more work to do, but I’m happy with where we are,” Sherwood coach Jon Strohmaier said.

“We’re looking to pick it up even more for the rest of league play,” Kotowski said.

The Bowmen had to pick it up Tuesday against what looked to be a talented Sandy squad.

The Pioneers got singles from Bryce Tilton and Cody Welty in the top of the first inning, but Moore responded with a pair of strikeouts to get out of the early jam.

Moore then ignited the Bowmen offense with a leadoff double to gap in right-center field to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Moore moved to third base on a single by sophomore Adley Rutschman and then he scored on a passed ball to give Sherwood an early 1-0 lead.

With one out in the inning, Rutschman moved to third base on a line-drive single by Kotowski. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Cameron DuFault to up the lead to 2-0 at the end of the opening frame.

The Bowmen added on another run in the bottom of the third inning. Junior Zak Taylor got all the way to third base on a Sandy throwing error with one out in the frame to get things started. Kotowski followed with a single to center field, driving in Taylor to up the margin to 3-0.

by: DAN BROOD - CLOUD OF DUST -- Sherwood senior Keegan Lawrence (21) steals second base for the Bowmen in their 6-0 win over Sandy.The Pioneers threatened again in the top of the fourth inning, getting a walk and a two-out single to put runners at first and third. But another strikeout by Moore ended the threat.

Meanwhile, Sherwood continued to add onto its lead.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Rutschman hit a leadoff double down the left-field line. He would go on to score when Sandy committed an error on a grounder by Taylor, upping the margin to 4-0.

The Bowmen then added on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior Tanner Shadbolt singled to center to lead off the frame. He moved to second, and then third base, on back-to-back wild pitches. Then, after senior Brandon Geiger walked, Shadbolt scored on a throwing error on a pickoff play to make the score 5-0. Kotowski, drawing a bases-loaded walk, brought in Geiger later in the frame to cap off the scoring in Sherwood’s 6-0 victory.

“We’ve had some good hitting the last two games,” Moore said, referring to Tuesday’s win and a 9-3 victory at Sandy on Friday. “It’s nice to put some runs on the board.”

Kotowski helped lead the hitting attack in Tuesday’s win, going 2 for 3 at the plate with two RBIs. He also belted a three-run home run, his second of the season, in the series-opening win at Sandy on Friday.

“I’m on a hot streak right now,” Kotowski said. “If I get my pitch, I’m jumping out of my shoes trying to hit it hard.”

by: PARKER LEE - NICE HIT -- Sherwood senior Travis Kotowski (24) is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the Bowmen's win at Sandy on Friday.“He’s getting most of his hits with two strikes,” Strohmaier said of Kotowski, who is hitting for a .519 average through Tuesday with a team-high 14 RBIs. “He’s adjusting at the plate, and it’s paying off.”

Also for the Bowmen in Tuesday’s game, Rutschman went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored. Moore, junior Dayton Vaughn and Shadbolt added one hit apiece.

Moore, in five innings of work on the mound, gave up no runs on four hits while striking out eight and walking four. Geiger pitched two shutout innings to finish the game, allowing two hits while striking out one.

Taylor was the winning pitcher for the Bowmen in Friday’s game at Sandy.

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