Sports

South Whidbey Rangers lose a tough one to one tough team

LANGLEY — The South Whidbey Ranger Little League team lost 4-1 to Central Whidbey in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions Tuesday.

The game was held at Langley’s Community Park instead of Mount Vernon because of numerous rain delays.

Beck Davis pitched a solid game giving up five hits and two runs to the undefeated Wolves.

Ricky Muzzy went 1-for-3 and Jordan Parrick went 1-for-3 with a single RBI scored.

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 14, the boys move into the playoffs if they win Friday’s consolation contest.

“We’ll be trying to fight our way back,” said team manger Chris Nelson. “The District 11 tournament includes the best teams from all the leagues.”

At the top is Coupeville, undefeated in 13 games, including three against the Rangers.

“They are the Goliaths of our league,” Nelson said. “Watching the two play each other makes for great baseball.”

The Little League Rangers had a 9-4 season to qualify for the Ted Reep Tournament of Champions. Pitchers Beck Davis and Parker Collins were stand-outs and Nelson named them co-Most Valuable Players.

Nelson said Davis has always been a big kid — Big Bad Beck, as he’s known — but, until this year, a bit clumsy.

“This season he came into his own, grew into his body as it were,” Nelson said. “He and Parker have done great.”

Because the girl’s softball team didn’t have enough players, three girls were invited to join the boys: Maddie Hamilton and Haley Viers on the Braves and MacKenzie Hezel at second base for the Rangers.

Hezel, 12 and a seventh-grader at Langley Middle School, said Nelson encouraged her to try out for the team.

“I’ve been playing second base for eight years,” the veteran Hezel said. “The two sports are so different but I like the way a baseball fits in my glove.”

Her advice to other girls is to go for it. “Don’t be afraid of the boys,” she said.

“MacKenzie has been a blessing for the team,” Nelson said. “She’s a sharp player who keeps track of the infield action. If a boy wants to take her position away, he can try but probably won’t make it.”

Nelson sees himself as a player’s coach, using a positive attitude to get 110 percent from the kids.

“Win or lose, baseball teaches them responsibility, teamwork and great life values whether or not they stay with the game,” he said.

On Monday, the best players from all three Little League teams begin practice for a run at

All-Stars glory.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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