South End players prep for big showdown against South Skagit

School’s out and summer vacation is here — time to sleep late and catch up on a few video games. Right? Not if you’re a member of the 2007 Little League All Star team, working hard at practice to get up to speed for the big game against South Skagit next week.

  • Wednesday, July 4, 2007 8:00pm
  • Sports

The 2007 Little League South Whidbey Braves show off their trophies after winning five straight games in Sedro-Woolley. In the front row are Keegan Warwick

School’s out and summer vacation is here — time to sleep late and catch up on a few video games. Right?

Not if you’re a member of the 2007 Little League All Star team, working hard at practice to get up to speed for the big game against South Skagit next week.

Under the watchful gaze of manager Kevin Caron and coaches Don Heggenes and Forrest Hughes, the boys hit, threw, ran, caught and were generally having a terrific time.

“Baseball is great, there’s a lot of action,” catcher Aaron Curfman said as he caught grounders in the infield. “Better than Disneyland.”

Just what the coaches want to hear from their players.

Back on June 9 at the 14-team Erik Teserik Tournament in Sedro-Woolley, the South Whidbey Braves — who entered the tournament with a 12-7 record — outscored their final five opponents 61-25 over five games.

They were unstoppable.

“There was solid pitching by five different boys and very good team hitting,” Heggenes said. “Lead hitting by Aaron and Dane Heggenes’s three home runs kept the opposing teams pitching off balance.”

Trophies accepted, it was time to plan for the All Star game, a double elimination affair that brings the best teams together, including Burlington, the South Skagit American League and National League, Anacortes, Sedro-Woolley and North and South Whidbey. The All Stars will play South Skagit at 6 p.m. at Oak Harbor’s City Park on July 10.

The All Star team is created from players representing the three South Whidbey Little League teams: the Braves, Rangers and Yankees.

“The boys were selected by peers and coaches,” Coach Heggenes explained. Eight of the 12 boys were on the All Star team last year.

All Star players are Alex Boenish, Spencer Kozerek, Aaron Curfman, Josh Bishop, Dane Heggenes, Daniel Caron, Mitchell Hughes, Patrick Monell, Jack Lewis, Taylor Todd, Camden Buchanan and Zach Caravan.

Mitchell Hughes doubles at first and catches but he has his fave. “When I catch, all the plays come to me,” he said.

Pitcher Jack Lewis understands the game with a wisdom belying his 12 years.

“Baseball is a thinking man’s game,” he said. “You need to be smart and anticipate what the other guy will do.”

On the mound, fellow pitcher Taylor Todd relishes the moment he strikes someone out.

“I like it when they get mad and stomp off,” he said.

Shortstop Daniel Caron recalled a moment from the tournament.

“The guy hit the ball, I put my glove up and the ball was there. Right there. And I made a double play out of it at first base,” he said.

And Patrick Monell has developed a keen understanding for success in center field.

“I catch more balls than I drop,” he said.

Spencer Koszarek said he has been playing all his life, but his first home run came in the final tournament game.

“Right over the center field fence, about 200 feet,” he said.

Zach Caravan likes to play so much he wants to be a pro and get rich. “I guess I need to work hard and get older before then.”

The boys will be spending most of July practicing and playing, but that’s OK with them.

“I’d rather be here than at home,” Camden Buchanan noted as his teammates nodded in agreement.

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

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