Sports

13s take fourth at State

If you were to bring one item to the Babe Ruth State Championships last week, it should have been a pacemaker.

The 13-year-old Bainbridge All-Stars took fourth place in the tournament after a nail-biting campaign that began and ended at home plate.

“There were a lot of close plays,” manager Israel Gaphni said. “And a lot of plays at the plate. It was exciting.”

For Bainbridge, the tournament began with a tough draw to face a favored Eastmont team. In the first of three extra-inning games, the boys held a 5-5 tie until the top of the seventh inning when Eastmont scored to lead, 6-5.

Bainbridge battled in the bottom of the seventh, grinding out enough hits to get Will Martin to third with one out. Martin made a dash for home on a sacrifice fly by Paul Weese, but could not make it under the glove of Eastmont’s catcher.

Bainbridge’s first loss sent them to the loser’s bracket and into a game with Okanogan Valley.

Sam Snow started on the mound for Bainbridge and pitched five innings of no-hit baseball. Colby Morse came in to continue the no-hitter in the sixth. As the hurlers dominated, the Bainbridge bats belted the team to a comfortable 10-0 victory.

That would be the only breathing room for the islanders during the tournament.

The following afternoon Jake Estes, Martin and Morse took the mound against an evenly matched Anacortes team, and held the opponents hitless in the opening innings.

Bainbridge found the sweet spot early, with clutch hitting by Martin, Ian Powell, Kyle Szarzynski and Weese providing enough offense for a 5-3 victory.

Yakima was the next team to take Bainbridge into extra innings. Kevin Hope led off a big second inning with a single that ignited a six-hit rally to give Bainbridge a five-run lead.

Yakima bounced back to tie the score at 5-5. The game remained tied until the eighth inning when Weese, Will Watson and Szarzynski loaded the bases. Colin Feldtman came to the plate and delivered the game-winning single that scored Weese.

In the toughest, and hottest game of their playoff run, Bainbridge lost a nail-biter to Mount Rainier in a grueling 12-inning contest.

RBIs by Powell and Ross Olason tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth, setting up extra-inning play.

Bainbridge hit the ball hard, but was unable to find the holes in the Rainer defense. Rainer scored a run in the top of the 11th, which Bainbridge matched when Rainier walked in a run with the bases loaded.

Rainier scored again in the 12th; the Bainbridge squad found one last opportunity to tie the game. With two outs and Weese on third, Jordan Gaphni singled. In a very close play, Weese was thrown out at the plate, bringing a long game and a memorable All-Star team performance to a close.

“I think we were the better team, but both just played really hard,” Gaphni said. “It came down to a lot of close calls that didn’t go our way.”

Bainbridge’s cross-bridge rivals, North Kitsap, would later beat Mount Rainer 11-0 and go on to win the state championship against a previously undefeated Ferndale team.

The Bainbridge 13-year-olds played a total of 62 innings in district and state tournament play.

Snow was Bainbridge’s big gun with 11-2/3 innings pitched and a 2.99 ERA. Fedtman and Szarzynski led the team’s offense with averages of .474 and .429, respectively. Mackenzie Bond and Steffen Dacquisto were credited for their solid defense.

“The kids did great,” Gaphni said. “They were out there battling other teams and the heat that was above 90 degrees. They had some very close plays and committed very few errors. ”

Bainbridge couldn’t get breaks at critical moments, Gaphni said.

“We played well,” he said. “We had some really good defense and we were hitting the ball hard, but there were a lot of close ones and sometimes we would just hit it right to them.”

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