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Ishii, Westview swindle Southridge in seventh

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview pitcher Kenyon Yovan and Taiki Ishii celebrate Ishii's game-saving diving stop and throw in the seventh inning of the Wildcats win over Southridge. Both Ishii and Yovan had two hits apiece.

Burglars don’t have time to deliberate when they pillage.

They’re in, get what they came for and they’re out before you can blink.

Hesitate for a second and the alarm goes off or the dog takes a bite out of their leg. There’s no room for error. There’s no time to contemplate.

When Westview third baseman highwayman Taiki Ishii robbed Southridge’s David Knudsen of extra bases with a dive-bomb sprawl to his left, the junior didn’t dally. Nursing a 3-2 lead, with the bases full of Skyhawks and two outs, Ishii stabbed Knudsen’s scorcher, sprung to his feet and slung a spear to Teagan Lind at first base.

Ishii’s unswerving, game-saving throw hit the stretched-out Lind’s mitt squarely with an audible thud, as the first base umpire balled his hand into a fist, signaling the third and final out of a nail-biting, hair-raising 3-2 Westview win.

“I got some new cleats the other day and they’re super light, so I think that helped,” joked Ishii. “I thought I had a chance to get (Knudsen). I knew it was going to be a tough play, so I thought ‘Get up as quick and possible and throw a strike’. That was definitely a playoff game. We all felt that playoff sensation at the end.”

Locked into a full count with Knudsen, Wildcat sophomore pitcher Kenyon Yovan leaned on his third baseman for aid when Southridge’s cleanup hitter clobbered the shot toward the hole between the hot corner and shortstop. And, this instance — as opposed to the second inning when a ball whizzed under Ishii’s legs that let Southridge take a 1-0 lead — Ishii came up crucial in the clutch.

“(Ishii) threw that ball so hard I got whiplash trying to see if we got it at first,” said Yovan with a smile. “It was a big-time play from a big-time player. He saved the game for us. Things happen in the field, but our team always finds a way to flush it and get back to playing like we were. I felt comfortable on the mound, like I always do with my defense behind me.”

It was all Knudsen could do but throw his long arms toward the sky in disbelief as he crossed the first base bag just a hair too late. The senior Skyhawk put together a well-crafted at-bat against the newly-committed UO pledge Yovan, fouling off pitches and taking borderline offerings before bopping the full count fastball at Ishii.

“I thought that was the game-winner,” said Knudsen. “But (Ishii) made a good play on it. It was a nice dive by him.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview catcher Tyler Stofiel looks in a relay throw at the plate as Southridges Matthew Orcutt slides safely under the tag in the second inning on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for Knudsen and Southridge, the bullet was all for not as Ishii played the role of hero, spoiling what was an excellent seventh inning comeback.

Trailing 3-1, Matthew Orcutt led off the stanza with a double that dropped between the Wildcat outfield and let the junior reach second base safely. Colton Roshak followed by ripping a ball off Lind’s body at first that gave Orcutt enough space to score and cut the deficit to 3-2. After Grant Giraldi lined out to right, Matt Kimball and Andrew Walker walked against Yovan to bring Knudsen to the plate.

“We had that intensity that we didn’t have in the middle of the game,” said Walker. “It was really how bad we wanted it. Everybody was up in the dugout wanting to win this game. It didn’t come through, but hopefully we can carry that intensity into the next couple games and get that win.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge senior outfielder Andrew Walker takes a cut at a Kenyon Yovan fastball in the third inning.

Westview looked to have the game in hand when Ishii scored on a wild pitch to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Parker Kelly plated Westview’s third run on a Skyhawk misplay in the top of the sixth. Yovan only threw four pitches in the bottom of the sixth to get three quick outs. But, Southridge circled the wagons with a surge of momentum versus the Metro’s league leader in strikeouts.

“We should be doing that the whole game,” added Knudsen. “We know what it’s like to be in that position and have the energy up. We can feed off that for the other games.”

Yovan helped his own cause in the fourth, driving in Ishii with an RBI single to left that evened the score, 1-1.

Westview pooled together nine hits as a team with Yovan, Ishii and Keita Fabrega collecting two apiece.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview sophomore second baseman Keita Fabrega turns a double play in the fifth inning of the Wildcats 3-2 win over Southridge on Tuesday.

“We finally put the ball in play,” said Yovan. “We’ve been working really hard in the cages, and it’s starting to pay off late in the season. We kept battling and getting deep into (pitch) counts.”

“We just have to swing the bat and be aggressive at the plate,” added Ishii. “Once we get our swings going we’re going to be tough.”

Yovan said he “didn’t have his best stuff”, but tried to pound the strike zone and put the ball in play for his teammates.

The sophomore struck out five Skyhawks and was given great assistance by the Wildcat infield, which turned four double plays on the afternoon. With the win, Westview stayed tied with Jesuit for first in Metro.

“We’re starting to get in the groove of having fun, not just being super competitive,” said Yovan. “You still have to have the competitive mindset, but coming out and having fun is the whole point of baseball. Our team is finally doing that.”

Southridge has dropped its last six contests, though they left the park on Tuesday steadfast and confident after taking Westview to the wire.

“I’m still feeling good about this series,” said Knudsen. “We had a few mental and fielding errors that could’ve saved two runs and made it a whole different ballgame going into the seventh.”

“Momentum is key, especially with our team,” added Walker. “Once we got going, that’s when everything came together. That’s when we win games.”




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