Taylor's pitching, Hekker's catch highlight OIBA victory over Oregon City

by: DAN BROOD - NO RUNS -- Sherwood's Zak Taylor shut out Oregon City on two hits in the team's 8-0 OIBA tourney win on Friday.OREGON CITY — The Sherwood OIBA baseball team continues to heat up as the summer season nears a conclusion.

And the Bowmen sure were sizzling on Friday.

Sherwood, behind some spectacular defense, timely hitting on offense and a near no-hit pitching performance from Zak Taylor, rolled to an 8-0 win over Oregon City in a OIBA Tournament winners' bracket semifinal game played at Oregon City High School.

“We're kind of showing people what our program is about,” said Taylor, a Sherwood High School senior-to-be, who pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout. “We play hard and grit games out.”

With the win, Sherwood advances to play in the winners' bracket final of the 16-team double-elimination tournament. The Bowmen will meet Lake Oswego Friday at 4:45 p.m.

“This is big for us. We've never gone this far before,” said Sherwood senior-to-be Rich Hekker, who made an amazing diving catch in right field in the fifth inning, keeping Taylor's no-hitter intact at that point. “We're just playing Bowmen baseball.”

A big part of Bowmen baseball is pitching.

And Sherwood a dominating pitching performance from Taylor in Friday's early game. In seven shutout innings of work, the right-hander gave up just two hits, both coming in the bottom of the sixth inning, while striking out eight and walking two.

“I was close to a no-hitter,” Taylor said with a smile. “I started thinking about that in the middle of the game. I wanted to throw every pitch for strikes. And the defense was great behind me. Rich Hekker's catch was amazing.”

Yes, it was.

It came in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Sherwood holding a 2-0 lead. Justin Wood, leading off the frame for Oregon City, hit a slicing ball into right field. Hekker, sprinting to his left and diving straight out, was able to grab the ball just before it hit the turf.

“That was amazing,” Sherwood coach Jon Strohmaier said of Hekker's catch. “Our defense was fantastic today.”

“I was thinking about Zak's no-hitter,” Hekker said. “I was going to go all out.”

Hekker hurt his shoulder on the catch, but stayed in the game.

“I was able to shake it off,” he said.

Good thing for Sherwood, as Hekker played a part in the team's six-run, sixth inning, which broke the game open.

by: DAN BROOD - ADDING ON -- Adley Rutschman had three hits and scored a pair of runs for Sherwood in its 8-0 OIBA tourney win over Oregon City.Brendon Wexted doubled to center field to ignite the Bowmen's big inning. Cameron Clem followed with an infield single and Dayton Vaughn drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Tanner Dillree then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, bringing home Wexted to give Sherwood a 3-0 lead.

Clem then scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Michael Robelli and Adley Rutschman singled in Vaughn to up the margin to 5-0.

Hekker followed with a single to center field, plating Robelli. Jacob Church added a two-run single later in the inning, driving in both Rutschman and Hekker, cap off the scoring in the 8-0 victory.

“We just stepped up and put the ball in play,” Hekker said.

Oregon City's DQ Dennis-Lee singled to center to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, breaking up the no-hitter. But Dennis-Lee was quickly erased on a double play turned by Vaughn, at second base, and Church, at shortstop. Oregon City also got a single from Cory Lay later in the inning.

Sherwood got its first run of the game in the top of the first inning. Rutschman had an infield single to lead off the game. He moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Hekker and then scored on Taylor's single to right.

The Bowmen also got a run in the top of the fifth, when Taylor singled in Robelli to make the score 2-0.

“Zak came through in the clutch,” Hekker said. “He helped himself out.”

Sherwood, as a team, had 13 hits in the victory.

Taylor went 3 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base and two RBIs. Rutschman went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a stolen base and an RBI. Vaughn, Robelli, Wexted, Clem, Hekker, Church and Nick Gardetto added on hit apiece.

Sherwood, if it wins its game later on Friday, will advance to play in the OIBA tournament championship game Saturday at 4 p.m.

If Sherwood loses later on Friday, it will play in the losers' bracket final at 1:30 p.m., with the winner of that game moving on to the title contest.

For complete Sherwood, Tigard and Tualatin OIBA tournament coverage, see the July 31 issue of The Times.

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