Okanogan holds off Tonasket baseball squad

OKANOGAN – Tonasket’s baseball team had what looked like a chance to scrape out a Caribou Trail League victory in their final weekend doubleheader of the season.

Resurgent Okanogan would have none of it, though the Tigers gave them their best shot in the first game of their Saturday, May 5, twin bill.

The Bulldogs edged the Tigers 3-1 in the first game, then roared to a 16-1 victory in the second. In doing so, Okanogan bounced all the way back last season’s debacle, when the Bulldogs had to cancel the second half of their season after poor grades left them unable to field a full team.

Okanogan also had to forfeit a game to the Tigers in April due to a more temporary player shortage.

John Rawley pitched his best game of the season in the first game loss.

“He threw a gem,” said Tonasket coach Tim Cork. “I just wish we could have provided some run support for him.”

The Tigers finished the season 2-18 overall, 1-12 in CTL contests.

Cork, after his first year with an inexperienced squad, said he saw plenty of improvement with the team’s pitching and defense as the season progressed.

“It’s always difficult to take over a program and start over,” he said. “We had a young team, and several of the players had never played any meaningful varsity innings. Besides Dylan Fewkes, we had an inexperienced pitching staff that got a lot better throughout the season.

“Defensively we probably made the most improvement. We settled into our positions and made fewer errors as the season went on.”

Improving the Tigers’ hitting will be a big focus moving forward.

“Our guys have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the league,” Cork said. “The guys were really fun to coach. I’m proud to say we started with 14 players and we ended with 14 players. I think that shows what kind of character these kids have to endure a season in which you only win a couple of games and you still show up and compete.”

Okanogan (8-11, 7-8), after a 1-10 start under first-year coach Ed Ashworth, won seven of its final eight and ride a six-game win streak into a Tuesday, May 6, district playoff against Lakeside in Moses Lake.

Tonasket also lost 27-0 on May 1 to league champion Cashmere (20-0, 15-0). The Tigers were hardly alone in getting blitzed by that squad as Cashmere outscored its CTL brethren 213-2 for the season, winning every game by nine runs or more.