Two BILL All-Star teams take home titles

East Jefferson catcher Sarah Bacchus tries to tag Bainbridge’s Hailey Willmann as she crosses home plate at Sunday’s championship game at Strawberry Field, bringing the score to 5-3. Bainbridge defeated East Jefferson 12-5 to win the Little League Majors District 2 title.    - Julie Busch photo
East Jefferson catcher Sarah Bacchus tries to tag Bainbridge’s Hailey Willmann as she crosses home plate at Sunday’s championship game at Strawberry Field, bringing the score to 5-3. Bainbridge defeated East Jefferson 12-5 to win the Little League Majors District 2 title.
— image credit: Julie Busch photo

BI American All-Stars win wild match-up against BI Nationals.

On a hot, sunny day, three Bainbridge All-Star pitchers did their best to lead their teams to a district title on Sunday.

Katie Raben succeeded, going the distance for a no-hitter as the Bainbridge 9- and 10-year-old All-Stars defeated North Kitsap 10-0 in five innings.

Head coach Deidre Raben didn’t realize she had one until she looked at the book, as Katie walked two, struck out 12 and retired three batters on groundouts out of the 17 she faced.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” she said. “Of course, she gets down on herself for walking any. She thinks that she shouldn’t walk any kids.

“But she pitched a good game,” Deidre continued. “And the kids were tough. They were fielding balls when they got them.”

Kinney scored another run in the third when she singled and eventually came home on a passed ball.

They scored three more in the fourth on another Kinney single, an error and several more passed balls, and one more in the fifth on a RBI groundout by Katie Raben.

Deidre Raben gave credit to North Kitsap and their tough play against Bainbridge.

"The North Kitsap kids were fielding everything we put out there," she said. "They came to play ball. The pitcher from North Kitsap did a super job. She was half the size of our kids and she made them earn every hit they got."

One of the kids who earned their hit was sub Lauren Sheehan. She singled in the fourth and scored.

"She has just battled at the plate all year," Deidre said. "This time she got a nice base hit to the outfield."

Hailey Willmann didn’t allow many hits, as she threw all six innings for the Bainbridge Major All-Stars’ 12-5 win over the East Jefferson/South Jefferson/Port Townsend All-Stars.

Willmann gave up just five runs off of three hits. She walked three batters and struck out 12 – all while battling a sore throat.

“We just kinda monitored her for a few days and she said she was good to go,” Majors coach Try Greenfield said. “I don’t think she was 100 percent, but she went out there and battled like crazy.”

East Jefferson scored three runs in the first off a walk, an error and a base hit.

Willmann scored in the first when she walked, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a error.

Bainbridge broke the game open in the second when they scored six runs with two outs.

Cali Moore doubled to score Tristin Berge and Willmann, then Gwaizdon doubled to score Berge and Taylor Greenfield.

Willmann drove in another run in the third on a groundout.

East Jefferson added a run in the fourth, but Bainbridge scored four times on two errors, a sacrifice fly, two walks and a hit batsman to put the game out of reach.

It’s the second district title for the Majors All-Stars and the third district title in a row for Troy, his daughter Taylor, Willmann, Cali Moore and Ashley Hufnagle, as they won when they were 9- and 10-year-old All-Stars and he was the coach.

“It’s fun,” he said. “The girls don’t seem to take it for granted. It’s new every year to them. They enjoy it.”

It wasn’t enjoyable for the Junior All-Stars, as they lost a heartbreaker 5-3 against the Sequim All-Stars.

Pitcher Emily Irish did her best to keep the team in the game, going six innings and striking out nine while walking just two.

“We made them earn their right to go to State,” Junior head coach Brian Moore said. “I know they will do very well. They’re a very talented ball club.”

Sequim scored in the first inning when Kenzi Rhodefer singled and scored on a passed ball.

They got another run in the second when Sarah Donahue doubled and scored on a passed ball, but Bainbridge got on the board in the third when Clara Dunn walked and eventually scored.

Bainbridge had a chance to score in the fourth but Larkin Sheldon lined into a double play, and Sequim went up 3-1 in the fourth on a base hit.

MacKenzie Teddy and Dunn scored in the fifth to tie the game up.

They had another scoring opportunity to go ahead in the sixth, but Sheldon was thrown out at home.

Sequim scored an insurance run in the sixth, but Bainbridge put two runners on in the seventh as Dunn and Grace Campbell reached on errors.

Dunn was caught stealing, but Caitlin McCormick reached on another error.

Delcy Stoddard flied out to center, and Campbell was forced out at third when Sheldon hit a grounder to the shortstop.

"That's the way softball is," Moore said. "Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes you don't. But they battled hard and they gave it everything they had. You can't ask for more than that."

While the Juniors are forced to sit at home, the 9- and 10-year-old All-Stars move onto the state tournament in Auburn, while the Major All-Stars travel to Chehalis for their All-Star tournament.

Americans win first ever matchup of BILL All-Star teams

OLALLA – The first ever meeting in district play between the Bainbridge Major American and National All-Stars Saturday night brought out the jokes – “Let’s go Bainbridge,” “I hope Bainbridge can pull this out,” “Who are you rooting for? Bainbridge,” – but it also brought out a high scoring affair with a wild finish.

The Americans lost a big lead, but came back to defeat the Nationals 13-12 at the Virgil Stacy Memorial Complex in Olalla to move on in the Little League District 2 tournament.

Nationals head coach Bill Ackerley remained positive after the gutwrenching loss.

"(It was a) good ballgame," he said. "This is why parents like to watch and kids like to play.

“In sports, one thing I know is, in tight games anything can happen to cause it to go the other way at the end,” he said.

After a scoreless first inning, the Nationals scored in the second on an RBI single by centerfielder Ryan Schreck and a two RBI double by pitcher Nick Denney.

The Americans responded in their half of the frame by putting six runs on the board. Pitcher Chris Bell led off with a walk, followed by four consecutive singles by catcher Chance Roebke, third baseman Henry McCombs, leftfielder Bryce Fredey and centerfielder Rion Ramirez that scored three runs.

First baseman Caleb Samson did the rest with a three-run home run that banged off the scoreboard in left centerfield.

In the third inning, the Americans batted around to score six more runs. Sam Orrey had a two RBI single as the Americans took advantage of two National errors and a walk.

"We scored a lot of runs early and we were kinda in a pickle just to get everyone in for four innings," McCombs said. "We had no idea they were going to come back."

But they did, starting their comeback in the fifth inning when the Nationals batted around themselves for seven runs.

Denney started off the inning with a double and eventually scored on a failed pick-off throw to first by the catcher.

Shortstop Steven Wellbrock singled and catcher Eric Raustein walked, but Bell struck out the next two batters.

But Schreck walked, rightfielder Duncan Newland-Thompson drove in two with a single, second baseman Robby Ackerley walked and pinch hitter Max Edenholm had a two run double.

Rion Ramirez came in to get the third out via strikeout.

The Americans worked the bases loaded in their half of the fifth, but Sam Orrey was thrown out at home as Roebke, the new pitcher, worked his way out of the jam.

In the sixth inning, the Nationals tied the game as Wellbrock and Andrew Hunt got on board for Schreck to bring them home with a base hit.

The Nationals had the go-ahead run on third, but reliever Rico Failla struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

Roebke and McCombs got things going with singles in their half of the frame, but Fredey grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing McCombs at second, but advancing Roebke to third.

Ramirez lined one to rightfield for the second out, but the rightfielder’s throw went past everyone in the infield, allowing Roebke to score and send his teammates rushing out to mob him at home in celebration.

American head coach Doug McCombs made sure the team didn’t get down on themselves when they lost the lead.

“I said, ‘don’t worry about it,’” he said. “Just take it one pitch at a time, look fastball and put it in play and good things we’ll happen.”

He also had kind words for the opposition.

"They are great ballplayers over there," he said. "My heart goes out to them. They played a great game and made it really, really exciting."

Ackerley responded in kind.

"The nice thing is, those guys deserved it and these guys deserved it," he said. "You just tip your cap to whoever can pull it off. They did a good job. They played as well as I've seen them."

And they will see each other again.

The Nationals defeated South Kitsap Eastern 2-1 Monday night, thanks to Steven Wellbrock who threw a complete game.

They faced off against the Americans yesterday, who lost to the East/South Jefferson All-Stars 5-1 on Sunday, for the right to face East/South Jefferson again for the district championship today.

The Bainbridge 10- and 11-year-old National All-Stars were eliminated by South Kitsap Southern 5-1 on Monday.

They defeated Gig Harbor American 7-1 on Friday, as pitchers Michael Crowley and Ricky Ackerley combined to hold Gig Harbor to one run.

Crowley also doubled twice, scored twice and drove in three runs, while Ackerley hit a two-run homer.

Zander Silverman was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI while Bryce MacDonald was 2 for 2 and scored two runs.

Both 9- and 10-year-old Bainbridge All-Star teams were eliminated, as the Nationals lost to North Kitsap American 5-2 last Monday, but came back to defeat North Mason 12-0 last Thursday before falling to Gig Harbor National 9-6 on Friday.

The Americans outlasted South Kitsap Eastern 1 10-9 on Wednesday and defeated North Kitsap National 8-5 on Friday before losing to North Kitsap American 12-6 on Saturday.

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