Sports

NWLL Juniors safe at home

Backs against the wall, the North Whidbey Little League Junior All-Star softball team showed just how gritty they are on Monday night.

Down five runs, 9-4, headed into the sixth inning of its loser-out state game with Lacamas (Vancouver), the local group of 13-14 year-old all-stars put on quite a show for their home crowd at Windjammer Park.

The team strung together seven straight hits in the bottom half of the sixth, resulting in six runs and a 10-9 lead — the eventual final score.

“We were all just pumped,” pitcher Kim Mowbray said. “We were up there and we’re just like ‘I’m going to hit it.’

We were all confident in each other — it was crazy.”

The inning started with an innocent infield single from hitter Emily Meagher. Andrea Stack and Ana Skurdal followed with singles and Kaylee Meders, Mowbray, Kayla Ratliff, Aria Araceley and Lauren Miller all followed with RBI hits.

“I thought we were dead in the water...but they’re scrappers,” manager Dave Jackson said. “When they wake up they’re fun to watch.”

Mowbray, who pitched the entire game, closed out the seventh with three straight groundouts.

North Whidbey dug itself into the initial deficit after having trouble making quick decisions on defense.

Lacamas capitalized on two errors and a mental miscue for four runs in the fourth and three errors for three more runs in the sixth.

Jackson said the defense has been solid all season and thinks the stress of having a state tournament at home may have attributed to some of the early troubles.

“I started looking around and saw that there were about 200 people out here,” Jackson said of the crowd.

The win moved North Whidbey into another loser-out game with Northeast Seattle last night. Results occurred too late to be posted in today’s paper, but will be in the Saturday edition of the News-Times.

The state tournament continues at Windjammer Park through Thursday, July 28. A championship game is set for 3 p.m. If the team from the losers’ bracket wins that game, there will be one game at 6 p.m. to determine the state title. NWLL has to win three in a row starting last night to get to that point.

The general feeling after Monday’s game was they could get the job done.

“We’ve proven ourselves through district and state that we can pull through any hole that we dig,” Mowbray said.

For immediate results log on to www.eteamz.active.com/wadistrict11 and click on My Site News for a bracket.

NWLL 24, PAC WEST 0

North Whidbey started the state tournament off with a bang Saturday, blowing out Pac West of the South Seattle area, 24-0.

The local team jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the top of the first, sending 13 batters to the plate. Nearly all of the first-inning runs were generated off of hustle plays.

“The girls were running like I’ve never seen them run before,” Jackson said.

North Whidbey had two runners reach first base on dropped third strikes, three steals and three runners cross the plate on balls that got by the Pac West catcher.

A two-out RBI single from Skurdal and a two-run in-the-park home run from Meders were the only NWLL hits of the inning.

The rest of the first-inning runs came across the plate via an RBI groundout from Mowbray, an RBI bases-loaded walk from Miller and a couple of mental miscues from Pac West.

North Whidbey continued to pour it on over the next four innings by using its running ability. They scored five more runs on wild pitches and also gained clutch hits RBI hits from Araceley, Meders, Skurdal, Mowbray and Miller to close the game out in five innings.

Pitching was also solid for North Whidbey as the starter, Ratliff, went four innings, allowing just four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.

“She pitched very well — anytime you can shut out someone you’re doing a great job,” Jackson said.

Fife 9, NWLL 8

Errors aren’t something that has come into play with the NWLL Junior All-Stars this summer — until Sunday’s game with Fife-Milton Little League.

NWLL uncharacteristically allowed eight unearned runs, en route to a 9-8 loss.

“If it wouldn’t have been for those mistakes we would of had the day off,” Jackson said.

North Whidbey trailed 5-0 after two innings after making crucial errors in the infield.

Despite the early troubles, NWLL fought back receiving several key hits from a variety of players. By the top of the fifth, they battled back to pull within one, 6-5.

Unfortunately for North Whidbey, the mistakes returned in the bottom of the fifth and sixth as they fell behind 9-5.

A late rally in the seventh left NWLL just shy of a comeback.

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