South Whidbey Little League 11/12 outfielder Myles Lind thought the game was nearly in the bag.
South Whidbey led Burlington 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning in the second round of the District 11 tournament on Thursday, July 6, at Community Park. Lind’s teammate, Maddox Smith, had driven in the go-ahead run with a shot to the outfield in the top of the extra inning; regulation games for Little League are six innings.
All South Whidbey had to do was hang on and their chances at a state berth were still alive.
“We all thought we would win it,” Lind said.
But it wasn’t to be. Burlington scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, one of which capitalized on an infield error by South Whidbey, to secure the 6-5 victory. South Whidbey lost to North Whidbey 12-2 in the first round of the five-team tournament the day before and was eliminated from the tournament with the loss to Burlington.
Anacortes, North Whidbey, Burlington, Sedro-Woolley and South Whidbey participated in the tournament. North Whidbey won the tournament
Adam Lind, head coach and Myles’ father, said he was happy with South Whidbey’s efforts for coming as close as the team did to beating Burlington.
“That was a really exciting game,” Lind said. “I was really proud of the boys. It was one of the best Little League games I’ve ever seen.”
Adam Lind said South Whidbey was slightly outmatched by its two opponents due to both teams having a larger selection of players to choose from on its rosters. But it didn’t stop South Whidbey from trying to win, nor did it keep them from playing strong baseball.
“I felt they played slightly above their potential,” Lind said.
“They were upset, just like any 11 or 12 year olds would be. But they kept their heads held high. I think they were proud of their performance,” he added.
He also felt the players represented themselves and the community well while acting as the home team of the tournament at Community Park.
Adam Lind pointed out that a lack of hitting was South Whidbey’s kryptonite. Myles Lind agreed, adding that errors in both the infield and outfield also contributed to the losses.
“Some of us could have been better at hitting,” Myles Lind said. “We made some errors in the outfield. I made some and I thought I could have done better.”
A lack of hitting was precisely what led to South Whidbey’s opening round loss to North Whidbey, in addition to North Whidbey’s mix of strong pitching, lively bats and aggressive base running.
South Whidbey trailed 5-0 entering the fifth inning, but managed to score two unearned runs. North Whidbey, however, pulled away with a seven-run performance in the sixth inning.
Reflecting on the tournament, Myles Lind was content with the effort South Whidbey made to extend the Burlington game to extra innings. He said it proved to him and others that the players on South Whidbey’s Little League team have a fight in them.
“We just tried our best at the end, but we made some errors,” Myles Lind said.
Kevin Hilton, first-year president of South Whidbey League, said the tournament ran smoothly and went without a hitch. Hilton said Bengie Molina, a retired professional catcher, returned to throw out the first pitch of the tournament as he has the past three years.