SHERWOOD — Sure, the young Sherwood OIBA baseball squad is mainly looking to gain some experience and get better this summer season.
And, while that may be the top priority of the summer, on Friday, the Bowmen picked up an impressive win, and came up with some big plays while doing it.
Sherwood, turning a crucial, threat-killing triple play, scored a 7-1 win over La Salle in an OIBA contest played at Sherwood High School.
"It went pretty good," said Bowmen first baseman Eli Holbert, a Sherwood High School junior-to-be, who started the sixth-inning triple play. "It was a pretty good game. We hit the ball well and made good plays."
"It was pretty good," said Sherwood junior-to-be Jack Fulwiler, who started on the mound for the Bowmen. "We started off strong, and finished pretty strong. We just kept the momentum going and won the game."
With the victory, the young Sherwood squad, which is playing an abbreviated summer schedule, improved to 2-1 on the season.
"We're doing a lot of individual work," Holbert said. "Everybody is learning. We're not focused so much on winning the games, just everyone doing their individual work, and getting better. We're training for the next spring season, so we can get the state title."
"We've got a young team, so we're just trying to get better, develop and get stronger, so, hopefully, we can compete next year," Fulwiler said.
The Bowmen got off to a strong start to Friday's game, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Holden Gilbert, leading off for Sherwood, reached first base on a La Salle throwing error. Gilbert then stole second base and he moved to third on a single by Kaedin Steindorf. Steindorf then stole second base. Gilbert and Steindorf would both score when La Salle committed a fielding error on a grounder by Kade Emmons, giving the Bowmen a quick 2-0 lead.
Caden Davis and Chase Highbarger followed with back-to-back singles, loading the bases with no outs. Holbert and Dylan Ely then drove in runs with consecutive sacrifice flies, upping the Sherwood lead to 4-0.
Behind the pitching of Fulwiler and Davis, the Bowmen were still leading 4-0 going into the sixth inning, but that's where things got very interesting.
Sean MacNeela, leading off the frame for La Salle, drew a walk. Emmett Thompson followed with an infield single and Ramon Aragon reached on a Sherwood error, loading the bases with no outs. John McQuillin then walked, bringing in a run to make the score 4-1, while also keeping the bases loaded.
At that point, it looked like La Salle could put together a huge inning. But that all changed in a hurry.
The next La Salle batter, Aiden O'Brien, ripped a high line drive toward the right side. Holbert, jumping high in the air, was able to snag the ball with the very end of his glove. Holbert then ran to touch first base, doubling off McQuillin, and then rifled a throw over to Steindorf at third base, tripling off Thompson, who had taken off toward home plate, to complete an inning-ending triple play.
"The bases were loaded, so I was playing in," Holbert said of the play. "The next thing you know, I see him hit the ball oppo (the opposite way, to the right side). I threw my glove up and I looked up. The sun was in my eyes, but I caught it. So I go to (first base), and then I hear everyone yelling 'three,' so I threw it over there. Then I got all pumped up and excited."
So did the entire Sherwood squad.
"That was pretty cool," Fulwiler said. "Eli was pretty happy about it, and we all were pretty happy for him."
"That's the first time I'd seen a triple play in person, and made one, so I got all pumped up," Holbert said. "It felt really good. I hadn't been hitting the ball good, but I made that good play, so I got all excited."
Sherwood then put some insurance runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Kade Emmons drew a walk to lead off the inning. One out later, Highberger reached base on an error, and Holbert walked, loading the bases. Ely then plated Emmons with a sacrifice fly to right field. Jay Baldwin then singled in both Highberger and Holbert, capping off Sherwood's 7-1 victory.
"This was so fun," Holbert said. "I can't even describe it."
Fulwiler, pitching the first three-plus innings for Sherwood, gave up no runs on no hits, while striking out three and walking five.
"It was just a normal outing," Fulwiler said. "I went out there and tried to throw strikes and, hopefully, my defense makes plays, which they did a good job of today. They had my back."
Davis, throwing the final four frames for the Bowmen, gave up one unearned run on four hits, while striking out four and walking three.
Baldwin helped lead the Sherwood offensive attack, going 2 for 2 at the plate with two RBIs. Highberger went 2 for 3 with a run scored. Emmons scored two runs and drove in two. Steindorf and Davis each had a hit and each scored a run. Holbert had a run scored and an RBI. Gilbert scored a run.
"This was pretty fun," Fulwiler said. "Summer ball is always a lot more relaxed. We get to come out here, have some fun and play some baseball and get better."
The Sherwood team will be back in action on June 27, when it hosts Oregon City at 5 p.m.
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