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Select baseball team wins title, places second
Bainbridge Stars take home Wully Bully title, defeat other BI select team.
The Island Stars beat the Bainbridge Warriors 6-5 in an emotionally charged and action packed semifinal game to advance to the championship of the 14U Crystal Grange tournament in Bremerton.
The Stars, who were the only 13U team in the tournament, had embarrassed their older classmates 11-1 earlier in the season.
The Warriors started strong, taking a 3-0 lead in the second inning on hits by Cameron Kaminski, Henry McCombs and Sam Kallas. Daniel Wyman was dominating on the mound, allowing no runs or hits through four innings. The Stars jumped on Connor Loudon in the fifth inning when Quinn Eldridge hit a bases loaded double to drive in three runs. Steven Wellbrock added a double as the Stars went up 4-3.
Wellbrock added a hit in the sixth as the Stars went up 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh. Not to be denied, Cameron Kaminski and Bryce Fredey led off the inning with a hit and walk. Quinn Eldridge then struck out JJ Wilford to bring up Warrior cleanup hitter Blake Harper. Harper, who had earlier made an outstanding diving catch of a pop fly from his catchers position, promptly smacked a towering triple to score both runners and tie the game with the winning run on third base and only one out.
Eldridge then retired Derek Acuna and David Greenwood to end the inning. Henry Indvik took one for the team to reach first base in the top of the eighth. Eric Raustein advanced pinch runner Aaron Nordberg to second on a fielders choice. Nordberg then stole third and scored on another Wellbrock hit.
After the Stars retired the first two Warrior runners in the bottom of the inning, Kallas reached base on a single. With his dad and brother coaching the other team, Kevin Bowman hit the ball hard and reached on an error. Kaminski then drilled a line shot to centerfield that looked like it would score both runners to end the game. Stars centerfielder Landon Cray made a highlight catch, diving full out on a dead run to preserve the victory for the Stars.
In the championship game, the Stars battled the MVP Vipers, a select team of players from the Tacoma, Puyallup and Olympia areas. Both teams entered the final game having gone 5-0 in the tournament without having to throw their top pitchers. Uncharacteristically, the Stars allowed seven unearned runs as the emotions of the previous game showed their effects. Going into the final inning down 11-6, Ryan Schreck, Nick Denney, Indvik, Cray and Eldridge opened with five solid hits as the Stars battled back to 11-10 with no outs and the tying run at second. That would be it, as the Stars had to settle for second place in the tournament.
The 13U Island Stars went 5-0 to capture first place at the Wully Bully baseball tournament in Wenatchee. The Stars advanced to the championship game against the Spokane Crush by beating teams from Federal Way, Wenatchee, Bothell and Lewiston, Idaho.
Strong pitching performances by Lars Nelson, Wellbrock, Tyler Riely, Roebke and Denney set the stage for a showdown with the Crush who also entered the championship game undefeated.
In that game, Landon Cray pitched four shutout innings, striking out five as the Stars crushed the Crush 11-0 in five innings.
Despite receiving several intentional walks, Cray also went 11 for 14 in the tournament with a home run, two triples and five doubles to go along with eight stolen bases, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.
Quinn Eldridge added a homerun and an inning of shutout pitching in the championship game.