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Whidbey little league tourneys follow fireworks
All the fireworks didn’t stop when the last Roman candle was ignited sometime late Friday evening to end Fourth of July celebrations on Whidbey Island.
Beginning Saturday morning, the District 11 Little League All-star tournaments for 9- to-10-year-olds, 10- to-11-year-olds and juniors kicked off at Fort Nugent and Windjammer Parks, and the excitement from players and fans bordered that generated by the skyrockets the previous evening.
The North Whidbey Little League Juniors got things started for local teams, squaring off against the South Skagit Nationals Juniors in a 1 p.m. game at Fort Nugent Park.
The NWLL 13- to-15-year-olds came ready to play and held on early in the game, but ran into a buzz saw wielded by their opponents in the late innings and were soundly defeated 12-1.
Pitted against the Arlington team that dropped a 5-4 decision to Sedro-Woolley in the opening round, the NWLL Juniors made an early exit from tournament competition, losing 7-5 in a 4 p.m. game July 6.
Against the Nationals, North Whidbey staked the Skagit County squad to a 3-0 lead before putting the lone run on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit.
Jimmy Jensen reached base on an error to open the inning and promptly stole second base.
After Tyler Felps struck out
swinging, Jensen moved over to third on a balk and scored on a wild pitch.
North Whidbey had an opportunity to score in the bottom of the second inning when Jensen and Braxton Lopez singled, but Nationals hurler Alex Ibarra settled down and got Kyle Montenegro to ground out to shortstop to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
North Whidbey 10, Central Whidbey 3
In Saturday’s 10- to-11-year-old matchup, North Whidbey got things rolling in the bottom of the third inning sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs to thump Central Whidbey 10-3.
Starting pitcher Ben Fikse was a tough customer on the mound pitching four and one-third strong innings before being relieved by
Fikse, the 11-year-old right-hander, gave up one earned run and two hits, while striking out 10 and walking just a single Central Whidbey batter.
“It felt good to be out there pitching, it was a lot of fun today,” he said.” The players on my team helped me out a lot.”
Drew Washington had two hits for North Whidbey and Brent Mertins drove in a pair of runs
with a third-inning triple.
Fikse also had a double in the
seven-run, third-inning eruption.
“We played well and it was a good game for us,” coach Hans Mertins said. “We had good pitching on the mound, hit the ball and played good defense. Overall, it was a well-balanced game.”
North Whidbey continued to roll in a big way in Monday’s second round of the tournament, pounding the Sedro-Woolley team 19-0.
NWLL advances to the tourna-
ment’s semi-final game playing the winner of the Arlington/Bellingham game at 6 p.m. Friday, July 11 at Windjammer Park.
South Skagit Nationals 16, North Whidbey 1
Not much went right for the North Whidbey Little League 9- to-10-year-old team on the opening game Saturday afternoon.
The South Skagit Nationals put up seven runs in the bottom of the first inning, adding two more in the bottom of the second, to cruise to an easy 16-1 victory.
Nationals’ pitcher Cooper Nelson held North Whidbey in check striking out four of the first five batters he faced, before being relieved by Tim Cummings with one out in the top of the second inning.
The 9- to-10-year-old team also made an early exit from the tournament, losing 24-2 to Sedro-Woolley on Monday.