Sherwood wraps up the NWOC baseball championship

by: DAN BROOD - STRONG ON DEFENSE -- Sherwood sophomore third baseman Adley Rutschman looks to grab the ball during the Bowmen's win over Wilsonville on Monday.SHERWOOD — It wasn’t the best of starts for the Sherwood High School baseball team.

It was a start that left Bowmen senior pitcher Riley Moore a bit frustrated.

But, at the end, the Sherwood squad, and Moore, were all smiles — and they knew they were Northwest Oregon Conference champions.

The Bowmen, after spotting rival Wilsonville a 2-0 first-inning lead, came roaring back to get a 7-2 victory over the Wildcats in a NWOC game played Monday at Sherwood High School.

“It was a pretty rough beginning. I didn’t have any off-speed pitch — I was a little frustrated,” Moore said after the game. “But we turned it around. This feels pretty good.”

“This is huge,” said Sherwood senior outfield Keegan Lawrence, who was part of the Bowmen football, boys basketball and baseball teams that went a combined 7-0 against Wilsonville this school year. “This is definitely something special.”

Wilsonville moved to 8-7 in conference play and to 10-13 on the season to that point with the loss.

by: DAN BROOD - SLIDING IN -- Sherwood senior Beau Curtiss slides safely home while Wilsonville catcher Cooper  Whitaker awaits the throw in Monday's game. The Bowmen got a 7-2 win.With the victory, its 13th straight, Sherwood moved to 14-1 in NWOC games and to 17-6 on the season at that point. The Bowmen also clinched at least a share of the conference title. Sherwood would claim the crown all for itself on Tuesday with a 10-0 win at Parkrose.

“We expect to do that every year,” Moore said of the league title.

“It’s nice,” Lawrence said. “It’s something we’ve worked out butts off for all year.”

Sherwood had to do plenty of work to get the victory in Monday’s contest.

Wilsonville, getting an infield single, a bloop single while also taking advantage of two walks and a wild pitch, scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead.

But, while that may have frustrated the Bowmen a bit, they say they knew they could come back from the deficit.

“That’s been our trademark,” Lawrence said. “We never give up.”

The Bowmen got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Nathan Christler led off the frame with a line-drive single to center field. He moved to second base when the Wildcats committed an error on a grounder off the bat of junior Cameron DuFault. Christler then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Scott Skurdahl before scoring on a sacrifice fly by junior Adley DAN BROOD - FEELING GOOD -- Sherwood High School senior Riley Moore reacts after driving in a pair of fourth-inning runs in Monday's game with Wilsonville. Moore was also the winning pitcher in the 7-2 victory.

Sherwood then took the lead in the bottom of the third inning. A leadoff single by junior Zak Taylor, a walk to senior Travis Kotowski and a bunt single by Moore loaded the bases with no outs. Taylor and senior pinch-runner Beau Curtiss then scored on junior Dayton Vaughn’s single to center field, giving the Bowmen a 3-2 lead.

By that time, Moore had overcome his early struggles and seemed to be dialed in. He struck out the side in the top of the fourth inning, giving him four straight strikeouts to that point.

“That’s why he’s our ace,” Lawrence said.

The Bowmen then added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring four runs with two outs in the frame.

Lawrence ignited the inning with a two-out single to left field. After he stole second base, Taylor and Kotowski drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. The speedy Lawrence then scored on a passed ball to make the score 4-2.

Moore followed that up with a two-run single to center field, with both Taylor and Kotowski scoring on the hit. Vaughn then singled in Moore to up the lead to 7-2.

From there, Moore pitched a scoreless fifth inning and senior reliever Tyler Booth shut down the Wildcats in the final two frames to wrap up the five-run victory.

“We do a good job of getting hot at the right time,” Moore said. “I think we’ve really turned in around in the last half of league.”

Moore, in his five innings of work, gave up two runs on four hits while striking out 11 and walking three. Booth, in the final two frames, gave up no runs on one hit while striking out five and walking none.

Moore helped lead Sherwood’s eight-hit offensive attack, going 2 for 3 at the plate with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs.

“I think I contributed more with the bat than pitching, today” Moore said.

Vaughn went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Lawrence had hit, two walks, two stolen bases and a run scored.

“I just try to get on base and do things with my speed,” he said.

Christler, Taylor and Skurdahl added on hit apiece. Kotowski walked four times, scored a run and stole a base.

In the teams’ previous game in their series, played May 7 at Wilsonville, the Bowmen got an 8-7 victory. Kotowski went 2 for 3 at the plate in that game with a double and two RBIs. Rutschman also drove in a pair of runs.

by: DAN BROOD - PICKOFF ATTEMPT -- Sherwood senior Keegan Lawrence (left) dives back to first base while Wilsonville first baseman Sam Garrison looks to make a catch and tag.Moore and Vaughn each scored twice, and Christler had a pair of hits.

Taylor threw a five-hit, complete-game shutout In Tuesday’s win at Parkrose. He struck out 10 batters while walking just one.

DuFault, Vaughn and Rutschman each hit a double in the win.

The Bowmen will finish their NWOC schedule Friday with a 4:30 p.m. game with Parkrose. On Tuesday, Sherwood will host West Salem in a non-league game starting at 5 p.m.

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