North Whidbey sluggers host district

The ping from balls hitting aluminum and the aroma of hot dogs flowing from the City Beach baseball fields are signs that another summer tournament has returned to Oak Harbor.

The District 11 Little League Baseball 11-12 year old All-Star Tournament kicked off the action Sunday, July 6 and will run through July 15 at the City Beach baseball fields.

“We very fortunate because of the conditions of our fields,” North Whidbey Little League president Stephanie Shelley said. “We typically get awarded a tournament of this caliber at least once a year.”

Although Oak Harbor hosted three similar tournaments last summer, this will be the lone chance in 2003 for locals to come out and watch some Little League tournament action.

The 11-12 year-olds are the age group who potentially could earn rights to play for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. later in the summer. The Oak Harbor tournament is the first leg of that long road for teams in District 11, which consists of ten teams from nine areas, including the San Juan Islands, Burlington, South Skagit County, Sedro-Woolley, Anacortes Central Whidbey, and South Whidbey.

Due to the close proximity of most of the teams, people don’t generally stay overnight for the tournament games. However, that doesn’t mean people aren’t spending their money locally at restaurants and stores, according to Shelley.

“It’s definitely helping the economy,” she said.

Games are played nightly during the week, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The quarter-finals will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the semi-finals at 1 p.m. Sunday. The championship game is set for Monday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m. with the “what if” games scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 15.

With the first few days of the tournament in the books Shelley is very impressed with the level of play she has seen.

“There’s been some really good baseball played,” she said.

North Whidbey 12, S. Skagit 5

The North Whidbey 11-12 year-old All-Star team got off to a solid start in their first game Monday evening, defeating South Skagit 12-5.

North Whidbey jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first after Joe Raymond picked up an RBI single followed by an RBI single by Austin Humphries. The NWLL All-Stars tacked on four more runs in the top of the second, giving them a 6-0 lead.

After allowing South Skagit to get within two, 7-5, in the bottom of the fourth, North Whidbey pulled away for good in the fifth. David Encinas started off a big four-run inning smashing a bases loaded single up the middle. They then tacked on two unearned runs and another on a groundout to the right side by Raymond.

Encinas was 2-for-4 on the day with an RBI, while Raymond and Humphries were both 2-for-4 with three RBI apiece. Chris Reilly and Jordan Young each had one RBI .

North Whidbey plays their next game at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, July 10 at City Beach.

Central Whidbey played South Whidbey last night in a loser-out game.

Results from last night’s 9-10 year-old all-star championship game, featuring the North Whidbey team will be in Saturday’s News-Times.

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