SHORELINE — Shorewood pitcher Tanner Oxnevad recovered from a line drive off his throwing forearm and delivered a complete game as the Thunderbirds punched their ticket to state with a 3-1 win over Arlington in a Class 3A District 1 semifinal Tuesday at Meridian Park Fields.
Oxnevad, a standout senior who has a 0.57 earned-run average this season, allowed one run and scattered eight hits while recording seven strikeouts and two walks. He stayed in the game after being struck by a second-inning line drive that left him in visible pain moments afterward.
“I told him on the mound, ‘Hey, your career isn’t worth (this),’” Shorewood coach Wyatt Tonkin said. “And he said, ‘Nah, I’m fine. I’m OK. I’m not coming out, coach.’ Man, what a gutsy performance. … He just was outstanding.”
With the victory, the Thunderbirds (17-5) clinched their fifth state berth in the last eight seasons and advanced to Saturday’s district title game against Wesco 3A South rival Edmonds-Woodway. Arlington (18-4) will host Ferndale in a winner-to-state, loser-out game Wednesday.
Arlington’s Gavin Rork led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on an RBI single by Trevor Kazen that gave the Eagles an early 1-0 lead.
Shorewood’s Kevin Hirohata tied the game with a second-inning single and Oxnevad drove in the go-ahead run on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly. Trent Hynek singled home a run in the sixth to extend the lead to 3-1.
The Thunderbirds are headed to state for the seventh time under Tonkin, who recently surpassed 300 career wins. This state-clinching victory was particularly meaningful for the longtime Shorewood coach after the passing of his wife, Alice, at the beginning of the season.
“The boys got together and they (said), ‘We’re going to get this state berth for Alice,’” Tonkin said. “So it meant a lot for me. It’s been a rough season. It’s been hard not only on me, but it’s been hard on my guys. They feel what we’re going through.
“But they’ve just been guys of steel and playing their hearts out and (saying), ‘It’s OK, coach. We’ve got your back.’ I love them to death for that. They’re just a great group of kids.”