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Luck, scoring runs out for South Whidbey All-Stars
An incredible run ended for South Whidbey Little League’s 9/10 All-Stars.
The South End’s baseball team lost 13-6 to Sedro-Woolley. And it was nearly the blue-and-white Whidbey squad’s game to lose.
Heading into the fifth inning, Sedro-Woolley led only 7-6. But South Whidbey’s pitchers loaded the bases on walks, then errors struck the infield and stretched Sedro-Woolley’s lead.
“We beat ourselves with errors,” said James Petty, South Whidbey’s coach.
“Through the course of the tournament we started out on the low end of our hitting ability but ended up hitting pretty well.”
The team’s starting pitcher took on some blame for South Whidbey’s rough start. Brent Batchelor was limited in his pitch count per Little League rest rules, but he managed to get two outs in the first inning on 20 pitches before he moved to first base.
“I didn’t do that good on the ball,” Brent said. “My arm wasn’t feeling that great.”
It was a lost shot at vengeance for South Whidbey, which was bumped to the consolation bracket by Sedro-Woolley in the second game of the District 11 tournament. The 7-4 loss June 30 seemed to spark South Whidbey’s players.
In the All-Stars’ third game against North Whidbey, the sluggers routed their North End rivals 10-0.
Hitting took a dive in the next game with South Whidbey facing elimination. Anacortes challenged the home-field squad with a 2-1 loss that kept South Whidbey in the tournament.
The blue-and-white took on Burlington on July 3 in a true slugfest. South Whidbey narrowly escaped with a 17-16 victory that may have depleted its pitching rotation for the championship-challenger match.
“This is the first time I’ve been through the losing bracket in a tournament,” Petty said of his team’s six games in six days schedule. “I found it’s not so much your pitching and hitting but how often you have to play.”
South Whidbey’s coaches noted the closing pitching by Aidyn Frederick against Burlington that allowed them to advance to the championship game. They also highlighted the relief pitching by Zavdi Gelfand and Ethan Petty and the fielding and leadoff hitting by Aidan Donnelly and Thomas Simms.
“They paired really well,” Petty said. “They did a phenomenal job … They got us out of some tight spots.”
Sedro-Woolley advanced to the 9/10 state tournament held at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor starting July 13 to July 21.
Now, South Whidbey’s boys of summer can take in their summer break. And at least one of them already has his eyes on something other than a ballfield.
“It was sad,” Brent said. “But I’m also kind of happy that I can finally go to the beach.”