Junior baseball regional: Mistakes sink Central Whidbey in opener

Central Whidbey’s Junior League baseball team picked a bad time to play badly.

The local team fell 12-0 to the Arizona state champion from Nogales 12-0 in the opening game of the regional tournament in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Tuesday Aug. 3.

Central Whidbey coach Chris Tumblin called it a “total meltdown from top to bottom.”

Central Whidbey’s defense, so solid in its run to the Washington state title, fell apart in the loss to Nogales. Tumblin said, “We had more errors than they had runs, and they had 12 runs.”

The miscues weren’t only on the defensive side; twice Central Whidbey had runners picked off to thwart budding rallies. In fact, the game had a promising start for Coupeville when it put two runners on in the first inning only to have one picked off. Another runner was caught napping in the second.

Tumblin said, “We played extremely poor; it was the most poorly played game of the year. Even our most solid players didn’t play well.”

He added, “They weren’t a better team – well, they were today – but we could beat them if we played well.”

Nogales took advantage of early Central Whidbey mistakes to go up 5-0 after two innings. A five-run fourth inning sealed the game.

Tumblin said one bright spot was the performance of Kurtis Smith: “He did a good job pitching, had them hitting grounders but we could not play clean. He also had a hit and stolen base.”

Smith got offensive help from Ben Etzell and Morgan Payne who hit doubles. Wade Schaef added a single.

Central Whidbey continues pool play today at 1 p.m. when it faces the Montana champion from Butte. Butte had its own problems yesterday, falling 22-1 to the Northern California champion Rocklin.

CW plays Troutdale, Ore., tomorrow, Aug. 5; Rocklin on Friday; then completes pool play Saturday against the host team, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

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