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Little Leaguers show champ style
It may not be the big leagues, but two weekend All-Star Little League tournaments are certainly big time to a couple dozen 9- and 10-year-olds.
On Saturday, a South Whidbey girls Little League softball team and a boys baseball team started working their way toward championship games on opposite ends of the island.
At South Whidbey Community Park, a team of 9- and 10-year-old South Whidbey girls pounded teams from South Skagit and Sedro-Woolley to earn a spot in the big game.
At the same time in Oak Harbor, a team of similarly-aged South Whidbey boys took big wins over teams from San Juan Island and South Skagit to set themselves up for a possible championship run.
South Whidbey fans got the most out of the tournament at the community park, which was a pre-state, District 11 showdown for four 9-10 teams and four 13- and 14-year-old teams. Out in the sun on a perfect day for a ball game, softball lovers watched as the South Whidbey team -- made up of Amanda Cochran, Laurie Robinson, Taylor Pope, Jasylyn Graham, Katie Piehler, Shayna Grant, Bailey Heggenes, Dana Griffin, Melanie Murphy, Nikki Parra, Tylyn Linehan and Nikki Nelson -- sent opponents from South Skagit packing in a 20-5 game.
Behind pitcher Laurie Robinson, who pitched a complete game two-hitter and struck out eight batters in four innings, the South Whidbey offense took over the field. Amanda Cochran doubled in the first inning and walked three times to score four runs. Robinson scored in the game, as did Melanie Murphy.
On Sunday, the girls beat Sedro Woolley 9-5 in a four-inning, rain-shortened game. Pitchers Melanie Murphy and Nikki Parra combined for a no-hitter, striking out nine batters in four innings. Offensively, Cochran went 2-for-2 and scored twice, while Murphy and Robinson also each added two runs of their own.
At Oak Harbor's City Beach Park, the boy baseball players from South Whidbey played even more lopsided games. In the first game of the nine-team district tournament, the boys bombed a San Juan team 11-2 behind pitching from Dakota Hanna and Andrew Graves. On Sunday against South Skagit, the team knocked out a 12-0 score to end the game after four innings and to get off the field before rain started to fall. TJ Fallon and Miles Goodman teamed up on the mound to blank the opposition.
Other members of the team are Ben Bennett, Shelby Ball, Corey Bjork, Robert Kirby, Alex Nettleton, Riley Newman, Scott Stallman and Travis Todd.
Team coach Tom Fallon said his boys need to win three more games to take the championship.
Both the boys and girls Little League teams are expected to play today. The girls will play at 5:30 p.m. at South Whidbey Community Park. If they win, they will earn a trip to the state tournament.