Discipline at the plate and efficiency on the mound made all the difference for the Thunderbirds. Sam Boone started things off by pitching four innings of one-run baseball. He only needed 44 pitches to do it, including just five in the second inning.
"The key to the game was when we ... put it on the ground and let our guys make plays," said Shorewood head coach Wyatt Tonkin.
Still you can't win a game with defense alone and a slow start by the Thunderbirds' offense meant Kamiak still had a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.
Then Kamiak's starter Austin Hansen -- who had put up three zeros to that point -- got in a little trouble. Hansen walked a batter and intentionally walked another. Kevvaughn Escobar-Umayam took over and walked the bases loaded. Then Avery Foltz's patience at the plate paid off. Foltz fell behind 0-2, fought off a couple of pitches, got even at 2-2, and hit a sacrifice fly deep to right to score the tying run. Jacob Bockelie followed up with a single to help the Thunderbirds take the lead.
The Thunderbirds held onto that lead with solid defense. Threatening with one out in the top of the sixth with runners on first and second, Kamiak hit the ball hard at pitcher Ian Oxnevad, who knocked it down and threw to second to start a 1-6-3 double play.
"Our defense was very very good, very solid. I was very impressed. We turned a double play when we needed it," said Tonkin.
Shorewood got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Ben Andrews doubled off the wall and Josh Wilkes drove him in with an 0-2 single.
Other than the one hiccup Oxnevad also pitched well, throwing three innings of shutout ball and keeping his pitch count low according to Tonkin.
Overall, the season opener had many hallmarks of a great baseball game, said Tonkin. "It was a fun game to watch just as a baseball fan because it was two teams that know baseball and it was a well played game on both sides," said Tonkin.
At Meridian Park Fields
Kamiak 001 000 0--1 3 0
Shorewood 000 201 X--3 5 0
Austin Hansen, Kevvaughn Escobar-Umayam (4) and Wilson Kessel. Sam Boone, Ian Oxnevad (5) and Jacob Bockelie. WP--Boone (1-0). LP--Hansen. 2B--Alex Pettibone (K), Max Wagner (S), Ben Andrews (S) Records--Kamiak 0-1 overall. Shorewood 1-0.
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