McDougall inspires Bears to triumph

mwochnick@theolympian.comApril 11, 2013 

OLYMPIA — The Olympia Bears’ motivation for a victory over Gig Harbor on Wednesday wasn’t about staying unbeaten in 4A Narrows League play and extending their winning streak to seven games.

The motivation was sitting next to the baseball team’s dugout.

Playing in front of head coach Todd McDougall for the second time this spring, his presence helped spark the Bears to a 2-0 victory over Gig Harbor at Crandall Field, putting the Bears at a perfect 6-0 to end the first half of the league schedule.

McDougall, whose was diagnosed with brain cancer in December, arrived in his

wheelchair shortly before the 4 p.m. start and watched all seven innings beside the Bears’ dugout. Each player greeted him after the 1-2-3 seventh inning Cameron Frost threw in relief, and McDougall was wheeled out for the postgame team huddle on the field.

Gig Harbor even showed its support for McDougall and the Olympia baseball program before the game, wearing light blue T-shirts originally used as fundraisers for McDougall. And longtime Tides coach Pete Jansen spoke to McDougall before and after the game.

“He gives us something to play for,” Bears senior first baseman Elliott Loague said of McDougall. “It’s really special to have him out here.”

It was Loague who got the Olympia offense going in the fourth inning. His leadoff double was the Bears’ first hit off Tides starter Haak Wagner, who gave up just four hits and struck out four in the loss.

In a scoreless game, Loague advanced to third and scored when No. 8 hitter Jake Biscay hit a sacrifice fly deep enough to left field to drive him in from third base.

The lower half of the batting order for Olympia (10-3 overall) had three of the team’s four hits, led by Loague’s 2-for-3 performance that included a two-out RBI single in the fifth that gave the Bears a 2-0 lead.

“I hope that’s contagious,” Olympia interim coach Greg Creighton said.

Olympia starter Michael Fairchild pitched six innings, struck out seven batters and gave up four hits. He had allowed two hits through five innings before Gig Harbor (6-4, 2-4) made a push with back-to-back two-out singles in the sixth by Nick Gagliardi and Colten Miller. But Fairchild settled down and struck out Mark Sluys swinging to end the inning.

Since starting its season 3-3, Wednesday marked Olympia’s seventh straight victory — including three shutouts — all while averaging 6.2 runs a game.

“They did a great job of taking care of business today,” Creighton said. “It was great to do it with Coach here, too.”

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 @MegWochnick

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