OCEAN SHORES — Greater opportunism — and a couple of fine defensive plays — gave North Beach the upper hand in the first installment of its baseball rivalry with Ocosta.
Making the most of only three hits, the Hyaks rode the complete-game pitching of Josh Takagi to a 6-2 win over the Wildcats in a Pacific League game Friday at North Bay Park.
The Hyaks (1-1) were outhit, 7-3. They also committed four errors, only one less than the Wildcats.
Ocosta, however, paid heavily for each of its miscues, as all but one of North Beach’s runs were unearned. The Hyaks made effective use of aggressive baserunning, stealing four bases in the first four innings.
“Get guys in scoring position and put the ball in play,” North Beach coach Rob Schreiber said of the winning formula.
Takagi, in contrast, was able to pitch his way out of the majority of jams. Displaying excellent control, the senior right-hander did not issue a walk while striking out 12.
He was aided by two outstanding outfield catches. Pedro Gonzales hauled in Caleb Tackett’s drive near the center field fence to end the third inning with a runner in scoring position, while right fielder Elijah Towery saved at least one more run with a running grab of an Isaiah Quinby liner for the final out of the fifth.
A young team to begin with, Ocosta was missing two starters due to academic-related commitments. First-year Wildcat head coach Ben Quinby had to reshuffle his defensive lineup as a consequence.
“We only have one senior,” said Quinby, a former longtime Wildcat assistant. “This is going to be a lot better team toward the end of the season.”
With a pair of deer romping outside the right-field fence, North Beach snapped a 1-all standoff with a three-run third.
Mike Beck grounded a single through the hole between short and third to score Andrew Wegner, who had stroked a leadoff single and moved up on an error and sacrifice.
Nolan Hottendorf scored from third when Wildcat pitcher Matthew Clark stumbled during his delivery and was called for a balk. A dropped infield fly brought in Beck to make it 4-1.
Takagi singled and eventually scored on an error in the fourth. Beck was hit by a pitch and came in from third on Austin Perez’s infield out in the fifth.
The Wildcats (0-1, 0-3) got one back in the sixth when Caleb Tackett singled, moved up on an infield out, stole third and continued home on a throwing error.
Ocosta brought the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh when an error and consecutive singles by Cole Rutzer and Michael Dewood loaded the bases with one out. Takagi, however, fanned Quinby and Tackett to end it.
The game had an unusual conclusion when Tackett swing at a 2-2 pitch that wound up hitting him. The rules of baseball specify a strikeout in such an instance.
Clark pitched very well in a losing cause. The sophomore right-hander struck out eight while walking only one.
Dewood went 3-for-4 for the Wildcats.
North Beach’s Wegner was cited for his all-around play.
North Beach returns to action today by hosting Naselle in a doubleheader. The Wildcats visit Northwest Christian on Monday.
Clark and Dickinson; Takagi and Justin Chong.
RBI: Ocosta — Quinby. North Beach — Beck, Perez. Three hits: Ocosta — Dewood. Doubles: Ocosta — Dewood.
Winning pitcher — Takagi (walked none; struck out 12). Losing pitcher — Clark (walked one; struck out eight).