Blending strong pitching with lively bats and aggressive base running, the North Whidbey Little League 11/12 baseball team opened the District 11 tournament with a resounding 12-2 win over South Whidbey Wednesday, July 5, in Langley.
North Whidbey now advances in the five-team, double-elimination tournament to face Anacortes at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at South Whidbey Community Park.
There was a lot to like about North Whidbey’s win, and leading the list was the pitching effort of Nate Moore and Taryn Hardy.
Moore was lifted with one out in the fifth inning after reaching the pitch limit, but not before he struck out nine and gave up only one hit and one unearned run.
Hardy finished up, striking out four and surrendering an unearned run.
The North Whidbey offense built momentum as the game went along, breaking open a close game with two runs in the fifth and seven in the sixth.
After striking out five times in the first two innings, North Whidbey finally got going in the third. Holden Jesus led off with a cue-shot double down the right field line, then Tyler Abbott reached on an error. Christian Gisvold grounded to third and Jesus was out in a run down, but Abbott and Gisvold were able to move up to third and second.
Alex Jenkins then opened the scoring with a two-run, line drive single into left.
In the fourth inning, Hardy beat out a grounder to second for an infield hit. After an out, Nathan Ginnings singled Hardy to third, and Hardy scored on Parker Anderson’s ground out.
North Whidbey made it 5-0 in the fifth. With two out, Brady Towsley hustled for an infield single, Shane Hoffmire singled, and Hardy plated both with a double.
South Whidbey stayed in the game by scoring two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth, but North Whidbey pulled away with its seven-run six.
Jacob Figarelle started the big inning with a single, then after an out, Abbott walked and Gisvold singled to load the bases. Jenkins slipped a grounder through the hole to drive in two runs, then Towsley followed with another two-run single. Moore got aboard on an error, then after an out, scored on Chris Shashaty’s single. Figarelle then finished what he started with a two-run single.