Friday, June 17, 2011

Year of the Bowmen! Sherwood Takes State Title!!

To win the State Championship in Baseball, the Bowmen had their work cut out for them. Facing them were the Wilsonville Wildcats, Northwest Oregon Conference champions, who boasted senior ace pitcher Spencer Cumiford (6-2, 3.86 ERA). Cumiford had twice shut down the Bowmen in their earlier contests, winning the first in a solid 2-0 performance. The second was a 5-1 bombing, and though Wilsonville was not swinging the big bats, they did have great team speed, managing 136 stolen bases over the course of the season to advance their runners into scoring position. In contrast, their opponents got away with just 22 steals off the Cats. Leading the theft parade for the Wildcats was senior outfielder Michael Gonzalez, who was swinging a hefty .455 batting average and capered 32 of those 136 stolen bases.

To win Sherwood had to solve the Cumiford riddle. "We're going to have to show up and play almost a perfect game to beat them," Sherwood coach Jon Strohmaier said.

"He's the best big-game pitcher I've been around," said Wilsonville coach Matt Kosderka.

Wilsonville and Sherwood stand about 13 miles apart just to the southwest of Portland. Both schools compete in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

“After the second game, after they beat us, I didn’t think our kids showed up,” Strohmaier said. “I told them ‘You boys just blew your last opportunity to beat Wilsonville... unless you meet them in the championship game."

They got that opportunity.

After a scoreless first inning, the Bowmen got a two-out single to left out of No. 9 hitter Connor Munro, followed by singles from designated hitter Justin Davis and right fielder Joseph Balfour to score four runs for the Bowman. Wilsonville countered, getting on the board by scoring a run in the bottom of the second, and the that's how the score stayed, with Sherwood up 4-1 till we came to the sixth inning. There Balfour got on base again, scoring off Jake Lawrence's sacrifice fly to right field to make it 5-1. Wilsonville fought back, scoring in the bottom of the sixth to close to 5-2, but the Bowmen answered again when Munro scored for Sherwood in the top of the seventh.

That brought the game to a desperate bottom of the seventh inning where Sherwood reliever Tanner Kichler attempted to close out the Wildcats. Kichler got the first Wildcat batter, striking him out swinging. The second batter went down as well, striking out looking. That brought up Tanner Antonson, who got good wood on and lined to right field for a double. Kyle Austin followed, cracking a hard grounder down the left-field line for another double, and scoring Antonson. Sherwood’s lead was now down to three, 6-3, and the game was tightening up. With the pressure on Kichler, up came Seth Gearhart, a solid hitter who potentially could bring the Wildcats to within one. Kichler brought the heat, striking out Gearhart, ending the rally and the game, and spurring a jubilant Sherwood dog pile between the mound and home plate.

“They executed all the chances they had, and we didn’t. That’s what it came down to” Wilsonville coach Matt Kosderka said.

Sherwood starter Jordan Ramp pitched five innings, allowing six hits, one run and four walks and booking two strikeouts. The starting quarterback on the Bowmen’s football team, Ramp was among roughly half the players of the baseball team who played both sports.

“Definitely being a cross-town rival it’s a big win for us. We’re always in for a good game against Wilsonville, and to win a State Championship against a good team like that makes it even more special.”
Asked who he thought had had a good game in the title contest, Jordan replied:

“Tanner, coming in and closing the game for us, he really shut the door. And Joseph Balfour made some great plays out in right and also drove in some runs for us, and just everyone coming up and doing their role for us, and doing it well.”

It has already been a banner year for Sherwood High School athletics, with both the girls winning the state championship in Volleyball, and the Football team taking the State title in dramatic fashion in an overtime win last fall. Their winning ways carried on into the spring, with the Bowmen earning an improbable win over cross town rival and Northwest Oregon Conference champion Wilsonville to take the State Title in Baseball.

“There’s no better feeling than winning a state championship.”

We are all very proud of them! Well done!!


  1. This is such a neat post. I really like the way you take the time to recognize the kids that are doing something positive, and doing it well!

  2. We love these kids, and hope all the best for them. Thanks for your comments, Cathy.