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Busy batting sends South Whidbey All-Stars into semifinals
LANGLEY — A shaky start gave way to fence-rattling rallies as the South Whidbey Little League All-Stars dropped the Sedro-Woolley squad 7-2.
South Whidbey’s players bounded toward the first base dugout and swarmed closing pitcher Drew Fry after he fielded the final out. The victory kept the South Whidbey 9- and 10-year-old All-Stars in the District 11 winner’s bracket and a couple of wins from a spot in the state tournament.
“Anything that’s uplifting or encouraging just rubs off on everybody,” said South Whidbey team manager Chris Schott.
“We were in the good part of the order when that happened.”
Early the game was solidly in Sedro’s control. That was until Nick Young rapped some clutch, veteran hits to spark South Whidbey’s offense, including the first two runs.
“It was pretty tense. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Nick said. “I just tried to calm myself down, went up there and got a hit.”
Trailing two runs early, Nick gave South Whidbey its lift. In his first at bat, Nick ripped a triple down the first baseline that was a couple of inches from being foul. Sedro’s defense was caught off-guard as he hit the first bag, rounded second and ran to third. An overthrow sent him home for South Whidbey’s first score that energized a listless dugout.
“I knew I was turning to two (second base), then when I was turning two I knew I was going to three,” Nick said.
“I was glad I got a hold of it.”
Even a three-up, three-down outing in the third was swept aside in favor of the momentum wave. Nick cracked a RBI single up the middle of the infield that tied the game 2-2 and moved Drew Fry to third. A pitch in the dirt from Sedro’s starter Carter Trammel scored Drew for the lead.
South Whidbey padded the lead on an error in the fifth inning. Runners were on second and third base with only one out. Breighton Schott knocked a grounder to third base. Sedro’s third baseman Dylan Zimmerman bobbled the ball as he scooped it, which gave Thomas Simms enough time to score for a 4-2 edge.
With one last chance to score, Brent Batchelor, South Whidbey’s right fielder, cracked a two-out RBI double to right field that scored Carson Filla. It jolted the South End’s All-Stars into a pair of runs on a single by Breighton that dropped in shallow left field for the final runs of the night.
“It felt pretty good, because when I hit that ball over the third baseline, I didn’t know if it was going to drop or not,” Breighton said. “When it dropped I just heard the crowd go, ‘Ahhhh!’”
South Whidbey’s starting pitcher, Aidyn Frederick, lasted three and two-thirds innings with two scores on three hits against two strikeouts. Aidyn’s coaches left him in despite a rough first inning when Sedro scored two runs on a couple of errors and a single.
“We felt like with the score being as close as it was, he wasn’t giving up a lot of runs, he was beginning to pitch better, his control was better, his velocity was where we wanted it to be,” Chris Schott said.
Aidyn was relieved by Breighton for the final out of the fourth inning — a strikeout — and finished three strikeouts against one hit. Drew closed in the sixth inning and walked one batter, while forcing a fly out and two grounders he fielded from the mound.
The South Whidbey All-Stars face North Whidbey at 6 p.m. Thursday at South Whidbey Community Park.