Sports

All stars start tournaments

ANACORTES — Sometimes it seems no matter how hard you hit the ball it goes right to the defense.

Just ask the North Whidbey Little League Junior All-Star baseball team, which opened the District 11 tournament with a 12-2, six-inning loss, to South Whidbey on Thursday night.

“We just didn’t get the breaks with runners on,” head coach Ryan Millus said. “We hit the ball right at people.”

Things started off on a positive note for Oak Harbor’s top 13-14 year-old Little League players, however, as they took the game’s initial lead.

In the top of the first North Whidbey earned back-to-back walks from number two and three hitters, Adrian Richards and Kian Mebane.

Richards, who stole third base, came around to score NWLL’s first run when the throw from South Whidbey’s catcher sailed past third into left field. Number-four hitter, Cody Herman followed by crushing an RBI double all the way to the left field wall, making the score 2-0.

“In the first inning we came out and got two on and stuck to the game plan,” Millus said. “Cody also had a heck of a hit.”

Unfortunately for North Whidbey, that’s where its offense ended and where it began for South Whidbey.

SWLL generated four runs on four hits, two errors and one walk in its half of the first and never looked back.

After a slight struggle in the first inning North Whidbey starter Mason Fakkema calmed down over his next three innings, allowing just one more run.

Trailing 5-2 in the fifth, things took a bad turn for NWLL. South Whidbey, which was unable to hit NWLL relief pitcher Adrian Richards earlier in the season, found their groove on Thursday. They gathered four consecutive hits with one intentional walk to start the inning, putting four more runs on the board.

“I pitched a kid that South Whidbey had its problems with all season long and tonight was their night, they had his number,” Millus said.

South Whidbey tacked on three more runs in the fifth and sixth off of two other relief pitchers, ending the game via the 10-run rule in the sixth.

North Whidbey moved into the losers’ bracket last night, where they faced Burlington. One more loss and they are out of the tournament, which continues at Volunteer Park in Anacortes until July 13.

“You go up through the losers’ bracket and there’s a lot more pressure,” Millus said. “Luckily for us these guys do a lot better under pressure.”

All other local NWLL and Central Whidbey Little League baseball and softball teams either have started their tournaments, or will begin them next week.

Junior softball

North Whidbey Little League’s Junior softball team won its first game of the District 11 tournament, 14-4 over Sedro-Woolley on Wednesday night.

The Oak Harbor team was led by starting pitcher Kayla Ratliff and the timely hitting of Lauren Miller, Anna Skurdull and Ratliff .

North Whidbey played South Skagit last night. The District 11 softball tournament continues through July 13 in Anacortes.

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