WESTPORT — More experience on the diamond, plus a couple of stellar pitching performances, produced Ocosta’s first baseball win.
Alex Campos and J.J. Wahl combined to strike out 14 in a five-hitter as the Wildcats nipped North Beach, 3-2, in a Pacific League opener Monday at GAR Park.
The Wildcats have actually gotten in more games (four, not counting a rain-suspended outing against Naselle) than outdoor practices (three) this season. The Hyaks, in contrast, were making their season debut.
The difference showed in the early going, as Ocosta (1-0, 1-3) capitalized on North Beach miscues to do all its scoring in the first two innings.
Campos and Wahl made certain it stood up. Making good use of breaking stuff, Campos struck out six in working the first innings to pick up the win. More of a power pitcher, Wahl fanned eight in the final four frames.
Neither pitcher issued a walk. Nor did North Beach’s Josh Takagi (although Takagi and Campos each hit a batter), who turned in a fine performance of his own in going the distance. “It really came down to our pitchers throwing strikes,” Ocosta coach Jason Quinby said. “Alex and J.J. did a good job of locating the ball.”
Ocosta’s offensive highlight came early, as Nate Krigbaum tripled to center field leading off the bottom of the first inning. Krigbaum held third on Wahl’s bunt single, but scored on Brian Hart’s single to left.
The Wildcats added a pair of unearned runs in the second, as Dylan Tucker and Michael Dewood each scored on errors, before Takagi shut them down the rest of the way.
North Beach got one back in the third when Pedro Gonzales’ misjudged fly to left dropped for a double to score Jordan Chong, who had reached on an error.
Two errors, sandwiched around another passed ball, netted another Hyak run in the sixth. Wahl struck out the final batter of that inning and the first two in the seventh.
Knollen Hottendorf kept things alive by singling to left field. He took second when catcher Krigbaum overshot first on a pickoff attempt, but Kurt Bambauer handled Mike Beck’s grounder to short for the final out.
All things considered, Hyak coach Rob Schreiber wasn’t overly disappointed with his team’s performance.
“Defensively, I think we’ll be all right,” Schreiber said, “and Josh Takagi threw a good game.”
Chong made some good defensive plays at second base for the Hyaks. Schreiber cited assistant coach Bob Sutter for supervising the team while he was absent for work-related reasons.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, gained the services Monday of three players who had been previously ineligible.
Both teams are scheduled to return to action Thursday, with Ocosta hosting Northwest Christian and North Beach visiting Naselle for a doubleheader.
NB 001 001 0 — 2 5 3 Oco 120 000 x — 3 5 5
Takagi and Beck; Campos, Wahl (4) and Krigbaum.
RBI: North Beach — Gonzales. Ocosta — Hart. Two hits: North Beach — Hottendorf. Triples: Ocosta — Krigbaum. Doubles: North Beach — Gonzales. Ocosta — Baumbauer.
Winning pitcher — Campos (walked none; struck out six). Losing pitcher — Takagi (walked none; struck out seven).