Before their bats fell silent when an outbreak of whooping cough cancelled their dreams, the age 9 and 10 Little League All Stars were on a roll.
On Monday, the team trampled Sedro Woolley 11-0 in four innings at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor (Little League games are called after 10 runs).
Charlie Patterson went 3-for-3 for three runs; Ricky Muzzy batted 2-for-4 and two runs and Kohl Hunter went 2-for-4 in the District 1 tournament.
Davin Kesler was pitch perfect on the mound over three and two-thirds innings.
The next day, the team beat Skagit 3-2 in a nail-biter.
“It was a thriller,” said coach Chris Kesler.
With the score 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Muzzy singled up the middle, then stole second and third on a passed ball to Hunter. With one out, Brent Piehler singled to right to drive in the winning run.
Kesler batted 2-for-3 and one RBI, Muzzy was 3-for-3 and an RBI and Piehler finished 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Muzzy threw 61 pitches, allowed three hits and one earned run.
“He came out and threw strikes,” Kesler said. “When they did hit, we made the plays.”
The keys were solid defense and outstanding pitching, he added.
“Skagit pitcher Cooper Nelson went all six innings with 10 strikeouts; an excellent thrower with great control.”
Hunter said Nelson was throwing “bb’s,” which he defined as balls thrown “really hard and fast.”
Third baseman Hunter has played with his buddies four years and felt the win was well-deserved.
His biggest moment came in the second inning on a hard hit that found his glove.
“I reached down and caught a line drive off my shoes for the out,” Hunter said.
With their record in the District 1 tournament 2-0, the plan was to play on Saturday in a championship game.
But it was not to be.
On Wednesday, all South End All Star teams were told to pack up as an epidemic of pertussis continued on the island.
The disease forced District 1 Little League officials in California to make the hard call to league president Andy McRea, who notified coaches that the teams could no longer play in the tournament.
“It’s a big bummer,” Kesler said. “We have no confirmed cases but several kids went to the doctor and were administered antibiotics.”
“The decision was made by the district to help contain the outbreak,” Kesler said. “There’s nothing we can do about it, no process or recourse. We have a real disappointed group of players.”
However, early Friday, McRea got word there may be a break for the 13/14 boys, who were poised to win their tournament when the pertussis outbreak began.
“As of right now, the 13/14 team has not officially been allowed back in, but the tournament committee is reviewing the recommendations from [Island County medical officer] Dr. Roger Case that we be allowed to play if we follow all of their proposed protocol,” McRea said.
The boys all had a five-day antibiotic treatment administered and will tentatively play at 3 p.m. Monday, July 14 at PUD Field in Mount Vernon if league officials agree.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.