Leaguers ready for another title run

"Bainbridge's state-champion 9-10-year-old Little League team of two years ago is back, largely intact, and ready to make a run at the 11-12-year-old title.And two of the battle-tested veterans of that team put their talent and experience on display Monday night in the final game of the major-division baseball tournament, leading the Marlins to the island's tournament championship.The kids we had two years ago are still doing it for us, Marlin coach Don French said after C.J. Hall and Zach Peach combined to pitch the Marlins to a 5-2 victory over the Reds.Perfect weather drew a crowd of several hundred kids and parents to Rotary Field Monday night for the tournament finale, and the selection of four all-star teams that will represent the island in post-season play.This is the largest crowd I've ever seen out here, said Tom Kelly, veteran island sports-watcher who was cheering on son Chris, the Marlins' first baseman.The post season followed regular-season form, as the first-place Reds and second-place Marlins worked their way through the 10-team tournament to meet in the finals. The title game itself was decided early, as the Marlins scored all of their runs before a single out was recorded.Jesse Colkitt, Chris Kelly and Zach Peach led off the game with walks. C.J. Hall's single, Tyler Campbell's ground ball and aggressive base-running netted three runs and two runners, both of whom scored on Michael Heald's ringing double. From that point on, though, both teams settled into a tight defensive game, highlighted by a spectacular Reds' double play in the third, when they threw out two baserunners attempting to steal, one at home and one at third.The Reds got on the board in the fifth when a tiring Hall, who had been nearly untouchable for four innings, walked three runners, then yielded a two-run single to Adam Beck. Zach Peach then came out from behind the plate to take over as Marlin pitcher. He quelled the threat with a strikeout and two ground-outs, helping himself by holding a runner at third on a ground ball to the mound, then firing a strike to his first baseman for the out.The final inning was a display of clutch pitching. The Marlins put an insurance runner at third with one out, but the Reds' Pat Layton fanned the next two batters to keep his team within striking distance. Although two Reds walked in the sixth inning, Peach put the game away for the Marlins by striking out the side.Then came what for many was the highlight of the evening, the selection of the island all-star teams, which will enter tournament play.The 9-10 softball all stars are Anna Canfield, Hilary Grant, Laura Hall, Abbey Heller, Ariel Hujar, Lillian Orrey, Karen Robinson, Kelsey Stoulil, Sarah Wettleson, Chelsea Whealdon, Brittany Wisner and Hannah Creighton. Kirk Robinson is the manager, and Mary Lu Canfield the coach.The 11-12 softball all stars are Chelsea Baker, Ellen Boynton, Megan Clark, Molly Dwyer, Lucy Gendreau, Sarah Golden, Tabitha Mabrey, Jacqui Menalia, Kelsey Middleton, Kailani Koenig Muenster, Trinity Vance and Stephanie Wagner. Jennifer Myers Paradis is the manager, and Nicki McCraw the coach.This is the first year we've had enough players to fill all the slots on both teams, league president Ken Guy said. It shows the growth of the softball program.The 9-10 baseball all stars are Tanner Bogardus, Tyler Campbell, Tyler Ferrell, Nicholas Fling, Dylan Gangnes, Willy Green, Dillon Harness, Michael Heald, Peter Leslie, Kauika Peleti, Mike Walsh, Will Watson and Tauren Yamada. Manager is Rick Watson, and coach is Rick Gawlowski.The 11-12 all stars are Nick Browning, Paul DeBarros, Willy Delius, Brenden Gent, C.J. Hall, David Kroman, Pat Layton, Theo Miller, Chris North, Zach Peach, Allie Picha, Robert Stevenson and Cameron Wagner. Don French is the manager, assisted by coaches Greg Mesmer and Rick DeBarros.Miller and Stevenson are the only two players who were not on the 9-10 state-title team. Picha is the only girl on the team, as she was on the 9-10 squad.Some of these kids have had some injuries, but they're getting healthy again, said Mesmer, appointed by French as the team spokesman. We have a wonderful group of kids, and we're looking forward to starting our practices.The district softball tournaments begin July 7 in Poulsbo. The 9-10 team will play a team from Mason County, and the 11-12 team will play a team from east Jefferson County. The 9-10 district baseball tournament starts July 5, and the 11-12 tournament begins July 8, both in Port Orchard. The 9-10 Bainbridge team will open against Port Townsend, and the 11-12 against East Jefferson.The dates and times for the tournament games will be determined this Sunday."

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