The Bowmen continue their hot summer with 3-2 win

TIGARD — Apparently, the word “rebuild” does not exist in the Sherwood baseball team’s vocabulary.

The supposedly reorganizing, revamping Bowmen continued to raise eyebrows this summer by beating Jesuit 3-2 in the second round of OIBA season-ending tournament, played July 24 at Tigard High School.

They did so behind the arm and bat of Zak Taylor — one of only three incumbents from last season’s state championship team — and notable defense from the eight Bowmen surrounding Taylor on the mound.

Taylor was terrific all afternoon, throwing six and two thirds innings while helping his own cause with an RBI triple in the third. The righty gave way to Brandon Geiger with two outs, the bases loaded in the top of the seventh and a 3-1 lead on the scoreboard.

Geiger hit Jesuit’s Christian Martinek with a pitch to bring in a run but got the next batter, Connor Kaempf to a hit a tricky to chopper on the infield turf. Bowman third baseman Dayton Vaughn charged the hopper, fielded it cleanly, and moving towards home plate at full speed ripped an off-balance rocket to first baseman Travis Kotowski for the third and final MATTHEW SINGLEDECKER - HUSTLING -- Sherwood's Keegan Lawrence looks to beat a throw to first base in last week's tourney game.

Vaughn said he’d been in somewhat of a funk the last few games in the field. However, he’s been plugging away at practice, fielding grounders and bullets off the bat, prepping for a big moment like a win-or-go-to-the-loser’s-bracket showdown between two well-respected schools.

“I’ve just been working hard at it and finally got my time to shine and luckily got to come through,” said Vaughn. “Throwing on the run, we work on that all time in the offseason, especially playing third base. It was definitely a good win, lots of talking in the dugout. We were feeling it the whole game and just pulled it together at the end.”

Vaughn’s stellar play was one of the several Sherwood made throughout the contest that backed Taylor’s six-strikeout, three-hit and zero-walk outing on the mound. The Bowmen were the only team to beat Jesuit during OIBA play, and they did so not once but twice, having beat the Crusaders in mid-June. Coming into Wednesday’s contest, Jesuit had won 18 of 19 games, many of which with relative ease.

“It’s a big confidence booster when we play big teams like that: the Jesuits, the Clackamases, the Westviews, especially in summer ball,” said Vaughn. “We usually don’t get to play those guys in the regular season so it’s always a huge confidence booster when you pull out a win like that.”

Sherwood got to a 1-0 lead in the second when Keegan Lawrence legged out an infield single that scored Kotowski. Taylor’s triple plated Rutschman and padded the advantage to 2-0. Taylor later scored on a wild pitch to go up 3-0.

“It’s nice to get a win against a 6A team, especially being from 5A just showing we can compete with all these guys,” said Taylor. “It’s awesome for us knowing we can play against these top dogs and compete with them. It’s an awesome confidence booster, especially, so we know next year in 5A we’re going to be the team to beat.”

Adley Rutschman, who caught Taylor’s gem behind the dish, said his battery mate spotted his pitches well and located his curveball later on in the contest.

“As a team we really came together today,” said Rutschman. “We put together a few runs, bunted the ball around. Defensively we played a great game, Zak pitched a great game as well.”

Taylor spotted his fastball tremendously and stayed away from Jesuit’s dangerous bats by wearing out the low outside corner of the plate. The Crusaders were frozen at times by Taylor’s ability to mix both velocities and pitches on the outer half of the dish. When Jesuit tried to be patient in the box, Taylor whizzed fastballs by them.

“I sat on that outside corner and then I’d get over a curveball every once in a while,” noted Taylor. “I was mixing it up a little bit, keeping them off-balance. I don’t have a lot on my fastball but I was able to locate today.”

Martinek was the one Crusader to have any kind of success against Taylor, hitting an opposite field homer to left in the fifth. Jesuit had men on second and third with one out in the seventh but Taylor reared back and punched out Tucker Hamilton for the second out. Alex Anderson walked, which ended Taylor’s day. Geiger, who was hit around by Jesuit and gave up six runs the last previous time the schools squared off, atoned for the rough outing by educing the final out.

With the win, Sherwood moved on to face Lake Oswego in a winners’ bracket semifinal game of the 16-team, double-elimination tournament.

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