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The Wildcats need to finish flawless, have the Pioneers drop two games to get NWOC gold

SUBMITTED PHOTO: GREG ARTMAN - Defensively, the WIldcats have been sound all year. The team has only given up 66 runs, the second fewest in league. After two disappointing results in a three game series against the Sandy, Wilsonville's baseball team bounced back with a vengeance. The Wildcats have won five straight games since back to back losses against the Pioneers, including a 21-4 drubbing of Putnam on Tuesday, April 24.

That particular win marked the teams most impressive output to date, besting the previous high 18 runs that was scored against Lincoln in the preseason. Despite the impressive showing, and four wins sandwiched around it, Wilsonville head coach Bryn Card believes that there is still work to be done at the plate.

"We've got a lot of talent, but not very many guys got a lot of at-bats last year, so there's still some learning pains," Card said. "For the most part, I think the boys are getting it figured out, winning games even when the bats aren't completely alive. Friday was a great example. Milwaukie's pitcher threw really well, a lot of strikes. We hit a lot of balls right to people but we still found a way to win the game." SUBMITTED PHOTO: GREG ARTMAN - Wilsonville will need to up its offensive output, according to Wildcats head coach Bryn Card. Against Hillsboro and La Salle, the team will face the two highest scoring offenses in the league.

In the aforementioned game against Milwaukie, Wilsonville was only able to bring in three runs against the Mustangs defense. The Wildcats gutted out the win 3-1 after seven innings. Offensively, the team is third best in the league with 134 runs, behind only Hillsboro and La Salle, two teams that have yet to be faced. Wilsonville, Hillsboro, and La Salle are all tied with a league record of 9-2.

"Hillsboro is definitely a team that continues to have success, and it looks like they're throwing up a lot of runs, so we'll do our best to eliminate their bats," Card said of the Spartans. "I know Curran Mitzel over there is a very, very good player so we'll do our best to eliminate him in our game planning."

"La Salle is a team that's been well coached for the last couple years," Card added. "That'll be one of those games where a little strategy on both sides will determine the outcome and then we'll head into whatever playoff situation all of us have. I think my boys are kind of itching for those games, they've been kind of counting down all year to get into those situations with Hillsboro and La Salle."

Defensively, Wilsonville has been stellar all year. The team has only given up 66 runs, the second fewest in league behind current leader Sandy. Throughout the season, Card knew that his defense and pitching personnel would be the backbone of his team's success.

"We knew we had five arms that at any time can come on the mound," Card said. "We definitely knew the mound was going to be our strong suit. Defensively we are very strong. I don't think we have all that many errors this year as compared to last year, and last year we had a pretty flawless season in that regard. Our fielding, pitching, and defense has been what's kind of held us together this year."

The team enters the final stretch of the season this week against Parkrose and Hillsboro. In Parkrose (1-16 overall, 0-11 in NWOC play), there is some uncertainty of whether they will be able to find an opponent. Last week, Parkrose was forced to forfeit to Sandy due to low roster numbers, according osaa.org. The first of two games against Parkrose is scheduled to take place Tuesday, May 1 at Wilsonville.

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