Just under 30 South Whidbey Little League athletes will take part in the summer postseason of All-Star tournaments this year.
Olivia Batchelor, first-year president of South Whidbey Little League, said 29 small sluggers — boys and girls — will take the field in the next few weeks. In all, the District 11 All-Star tournament will see at least nine games, potentially 10 depending on the championship.
“It’s so much fun,” she said Tuesday morning, the second week of All-Star practices. “The atmosphere, kids playing ball, it’s a really good time.”
“It’s really fun to watch these kids not only come a long way with their athletic abilities, but to watch their journey and become friends,” she added.
This year, South Whidbey will host the boys 11-12, also called majors, All-Star tournament. The games start Saturday, July 11 and the championship will be Wednesday, July 15. Five teams from Coupeville, Oak Harbor, Anacortes and Sedro-Woolley will visit Community Park hoping to win the District 11 title and claim a berth to the state All-Star tournament.
South Whidbey will face Sedro-Woolley at noon July 11 for the first game.
It takes a few dozen volunteers to put on the tournament. Batchelor said there are 45 positions to be filled, including concessions, announcing, scorekeeping and behind the plate as an umpire. People can sign up online at www.volunteerspot.com/login/entry/717696744049 or email Batchelor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re very thankful for the crew that we have and would love to build it,” she said.
“The more the merrier; we love to find spots for people to help out,” she added.
South Whidbey was unable to field its own softball All-Star team for any of its age divisions. Instead, South Whidbey softball players joined with Coupeville and Oak Harbor teams, which will play in Anacortes and Mount Vernon. The 9-10 softball tournament begins June 30 in Mount Vernon, with the combination Central Whidbey team taking on North Whidbey.
The 11-12 softball District 11 tournament already started, with an all-island squad playing in the Central Whidbey colors. The Central Whidbey squad defeated South Skagit but fell to Anacortes, which advanced to the championship game.
After defeating South Skagit 10-6 Monday, June 22 the Whidbey 11/12 Little League softball all-stars will get another shot at Anacortes in the district tournament.
The Whidbey team, which includes players from the North, Central and South Whidbey programs, will face host Anacortes at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 23 in the championship series.
Whidbey will have to defeat Anacortes twice to win the district title, since Anacortes stopped Whidbey 9-5 Sunday.
The second game, if necessary, is 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 in Anacortes.
In the win over South Skagit on Monday, Whidbey built a 7-0 lead over the first three innings.
Hits by Haley Abbott, Brooke Gilham and Patti Miessner helped Whidbey score four runs in the first inning.
In the second, Coral Caveness walked and came around to score on a wild pitch.
Walks to Abbott and Gilham and a slew of stolen bases led to two runs in the third.
After South Skagit cut the lead to 7-3, Whidbey added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth.
Abbott reached on an error and scored in the fifth.
In the sixth, Caveness walked, Chloe Wheeler reached on an error and they scored with the help of a single by Mackenzie Davis.
Scout Smith picked up the pitching win, striking out eight.
Thora Iverson provided the defensive highlight, according to coach Adam Caveness, with a nice catch in the outfield.
South Whidbey’s two boys teams may follow the girls’ lead. Playing in the South Whidbey colors of blue, white and gray, they have a solid shot at claiming the District 11 championships, Batchelor said.
“We’ve got a few pitchers who can hurl the ball pretty darn fast,” Batchelor said. “It’s a pretty competitive year.”
Anyone wishing to see some true blue baseball should visit Community Park in a couple weekends. If for no other reason than the concessions, Batchelor said.
“The burgers are incredible,” she said.