By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — Minutes after knocking in the tying run with an RBI triple, Marysville Pilchuck’s Kyle Nobach stole home on a broken squeeze play to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the Tomahawks to a 4-3 win over Oak Harbor in a loser-out 4A District 1 tournament game.
The win advanced the Tomahawks, who broke a three-game losing streak with Tuesday’s win, to a consolation semifinal game against Ferndale/Shorewood today at 4 p.m. and keep the Tomahawks’ hopes of a state berth alive.
Trailing 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, MP got a walk from starting pitcher Cody Anderson to lead off the inning. In the ensuing at bat, Nick Henry laid down a bunt that the Oak Harbor third baseman bobbled. Tyler Wade, who was Anderson’s courtesy runner, rounded second and streaked toward an empty third base, but the Wildcats third baseman beat Wade to the bag for the first out of the inning.
Nobach came to the plate and smoked a ball over the right fielder’s head to score Henry and tie the score at 3. With one of his best athletes on third, MP head coach Kurt Koshelnik called for a squeeze play. Nobach timed his jump perfectly and took off for home, but the MP batter missed the bunt and Oak Harbor catcher Michael Maletto caught the ball cleanly and tried to tag Nobach out at the plate, but the MP second baseman stopped his slide and hopped his other foot over the tag and onto the plate.
“When I slid I kind of popped up and that’s when I went over his glove and that’s when I touched the plate,” said Nobach
With the dust swirling around home plate, Nobach hopped to his feel and yelled “I was safe. He didn’t tag me.” The home plate upmire agreed and the Tomahawks’ season is alive.
“For three, four games now things — and I’m not a big luck guy — have not bounced our way. But tonight we got a little help. Things even out,” Koshelnik said. “Now we know that if we get behind early we can come back. We’re on our way now. All the kids and the coaches are buying in and feel, you know, we’ve got a chance.”
MP starter Cody Anderson struggled early with his control and gave up three runs in the first inning. But the lanky left-hander was solid from that point on, shutting out the Wildcats and limiting them to just three hits the rest of the way. Anderson finished with 11 strikeouts and had a key RBI single in the fourth inning that drew the Tommies to within a run.
“He powered through it and that’s a credit to him,” Koshelnik said.
Coming off three straight losses, MP seniors Nobach and catcher Kacey Walker had a players’ only meeting before Tuesday’s game and talked about keeping the season alive. Whatever they said worked.
“Kacey was just saying we gotta pick it up,” Nobach said. “We’ve had a lot of negative energy over these past few games and today was completely different after that talk. I mean everyone was just a little more alive, especially after we starting really hitting the ball.”
At Marysville Pilchuck H.S.
Grant Schroeder and Michael Maletto. Cody Anderson and Kacey Walker. WP—Anderson. LP—Schroeder. 2B—Bryce Minnich (MP). 3B—Kyle Nobach (MP). Records—Oak Harbor 11-11 overall. Marysville Pilchuck 17-5.