Wilsonville sweeps Putnam in three-game series
Wilsonville's first encounter against the Putnam Kingsman on Monday, April 29, may have been close, a 9-6 verdict in favor of the Wildcats. But the next two encounters were entirely one-way traffic.
On Wednesday, May 1, Wilsonville defeated the Northwest Oregon Conference (NWOC) top contender 14-0. In the third game, once again taking place at Rex Putnam High School, Wilsonville won another shutout, this time 9-0 on Friday, May 3.
In the second meeting of the two teams, Wilsonville had no off moment at the plate. In the bottom of the third inning, senior Trevor Antonson crushed a Putnam pitch over the fence for a two-run homer to push the Wildcats' early lead to 3-0. A double play to close out the top of the fourth inning, as well as a double RBI in the bottom of the same inning, sealed the Kingsmen's fate.
"I think after Trevor's home run, I think that was a big turning point when there was air taken out of them," Wilsonville coach Bryn Card said. "Then, when we scored the following inning, it felt like they deflated. They're a good team, a well-coached team, and I expect Chad (McGowan) to have them ready to go for Friday and back on track, and playing aggressively. There's a reason they're in contention for top of the league. I definitely think they'll come back on Friday and be ready to go."
For most of the third game, that appeared to be the case. While Wilsonville held Putnam scoreless all game, Putnam did its best to limit the explosive Wildcat offense.
Heading into the seventh and final inning, it was just a 3-0 game in favor of Wilsonville. It wasn't until the third inning that Wilsonville got on the scoreboard, courtesy of a Cade Edmondson single that brought junior Keegan Shivers in for the score. Edmondson himself would score thanks to an Antonson double.
From there, neither team scored until the top of the sixth inning, when Wilsonville senior Nolan Thebiay sent a line drive double into centerfield to get junior Jarrod Seibel across the plate.
In the top of the seventh inning, a scoring flurry sealed the victory and series sweep. RBIs from Edmondon, Antonson, Seibol, junior Cole Kleckner, and Shivers wrapped things up.
According to Card, the team effort and selfishness came pretty naturally to the squad.
"With this group, they understand," Card said. "I don't have to say a whole lot, they get it. They need to show up every day, they have to compete, otherwise records and standings don't matter if you don't get the jobs done. This has been one of my better groups in understanding that. They really don't look at where we're ranked, they know that we have to show up and beat you each day."
Speaking of rankings, the Wildcats now find themselves in sole control of the Northwest Oregon Conference with a 12-3 record, two games ahead of Putnam. Statewide, Wilsonville sits ranked at seventh with a 15-8 overall record, sitting squarely between the Midwestern League's Thurston at No. 6 and Ashland at No. 8.
The Wildcats have a nearly competition-free week of play. While the team normally competes against Parkrose this time of the season, the Broncos don't have a varsity program this year. In place of that series, Wilsonville will compete against Bend (15-5) in a nonleague affair on Tuesday, May 5. The Lava Bears sit firmly in the middle of the 6A Mountain Valley Conference with a 5-4 record.
What will it take to overcome this 6A foe? Well, more of the same, according to Card.
"We have to come out and have a similar approach," Card said. "We have to be aggressive, and pitch and play defense. That's our calling card. As long as we get that done every night, and make them feel pressure, we'll get the win."