North Whidbey drops league title

Smiles and high fives marked the end of the North Whidbey Little League 11-year-old All-Star team’s season.

The only problem was the team lost 8-3 to South Whidbey Wednesday night in Burlington.

South Whidbey will move on to the state tournament.

North Whidbey scored two runs in the first inning, one of which came from a solo shot by Billy Lamson.

South Whidbey answered back with two runs of its own in the first inning.

North Whidbey scored its third run in the second inning. Josh Higbee came in to pinch run after Jay Stout singled.

Higbee moved to third on a passed ball. Another passed ball brought Higbee home.

In the third inning, North Whidbey threatened to score again, as it had bases loaded with two outs. Yale Rosen struck out to end the inning.

“There was a little bit of jitters in a tight game,” North Whidbey coach John Humphries said. “These are kids, not professionals.”

North Whidbey left the bases loaded twice in the game and runners on second and third as well.

“We didn’t execute when we needed to,” Humphries said. “Had we been able to do that, the score would have been a lot closer.”

South Whidbey broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning. Duck Henna hit a ground rule double over the right field fence to score a run. Andrew Groves followed that up with a two-run homer to put South Whidbey ahead 6-3.

North Whidbey also committed a series of errors, which South Whidbey took advantage of.

“As soon as one error was made, you could tell the kids didn’t want to make another, so they kind of held back,” Humphries said.

The team had to play seven consecutive games to work its way through the consolation bracket to earn a chance at the title. North Whidbey’s wear and tear showed — it had only two hits in the final three innings.

Humphries said he coached 29 total games this season and had only four losses — all to South Whidbey.

North Whidbey outscored its opponents 55-22 in the tournament. The solid offensive performances of Austin Humphries, who totalled 15 hits including four doubles and a solo home run, and Lamson, who homered, had a double and six singles, led the way.

“For most of the kids, this was their first time at this level of play,” Humphries said. “They’re young and inexperienced with this caliber of play.”

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