Yankees beat Red Sox ... for Bainbridge Little League title

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Yankees pitcher Blake Swanson pitched 5 and 1/3 strong innings while his teammates backed him up with the bats as the Yanks defeated the Red Sox 10-6 in the Bainbridge Island Little League Majors championship Friday night at Lower Rotary Field.

It’s the second title for the Yankees in the last three years.

Swanson threw 85 pitches – 45 more than his usual pitch allotment – but struck out seven and walked just two.

Manager Doug McCombs was impressed with Swanson as well.

“He looked great out there,” he said. “He had good command of all his pitches and kept a good handle on a very, very good Red Sox team. That’s the toughest batting order in the whole league this season.”

McCombs said he had to put Swanson, Duncan McCombs and Garret Riely in the rotation after two kids got hurt at the beginning of the season.

Ben Kussie got the start for the Sox and started out well by striking out the first two batters in the first inning, but Riely took a pitch the opposite way for a solo home run.

The Red Sox tried to strike back when Spencer Hogger hit a grounder that took a big bounce over Riely at first for a triple, but was later tagged out at home when he tried to score on a passed ball.

Swanson helped out his cause in the second with a two RBI single while Gareth Grindland scored on two throwing errors in the third.

The Red Sox finally got on the board in their half of the third when Hogger reached as a bad throw pulled the first baseman off the bag.

Kussie followed with a double, then after Riley Hawken grounded out to score Hogger, Cody Hawken doubled down the right field line to score Riley.

He later scored on a passed ball.

The Yankees got the runs back when Matias Francis reached on a bad throw off a bunt attempt and eventually scored on another error.

After McCombs walked and Riely singled, Kussie got Casey McKay to pop out, but Tyler Martinez-Green drove in both runners with a base hit off of new pitcher Jake Hawken.

In the fifth, the Red Sox came right back as Riley Hawken and Cody Hawken got on board with a base hit and a fielder’s choice.

Jake Hawken followed with a triple to score both runners while he eventually scored on a passed ball, but Swanson came back to strike out the next two batters.

The Yankees added some insurance runs in the sixth by getting the first two runners on to set the table for Grindeland, who blooped a pitch into centerfield that just dropped in front of a diving centerfielder for a double.

Grindeland later scored on a base hit by Ian O’Keefe.

After Swanson struck out the first batter of the inning, Duncan McCombs came on in relief.

He gave up a single to Mitchell Stahl, but got Hogger to pop out to him.

Kussie singled, but he got Riley Hawken to ground one to the shortstop who threw to third for the force and to end the game.

“We won this game like we’ve won every game this season: with 12 guys,” McCombs said. “Every single one of them has come out and made the plays when they had to. All 12 of them stand out.”

BIRC boats place in top ten

After three hot, humid days of competition, both Bainbridge Island Rowing Club boats finished fourth in their respective petite finals, putting them among the top ten boats in the country at the USRowing Youth National Championships last weekend.

Only boats that had finished in the top three at a regional regatta were entitled to race at the national championships.

The varsity girl’s four with coxswain – made up of Jilli O’Mara (bow), Haley Allen, Keziah Beall, Jackie Sullivan (stroke) and Lynn Anderson (coxswain) – was fourth in their preliminary heat.

They did beat their local nemesis in Lakeside by nine seconds.

A thunderstorm Friday afternoon postponed their repechage heat to Saturday morning, where the Bainbridge four finished second in one of the closest races of the day – just 0.57 seconds separated the first three boats.

Their second place finish earned Bainbridge a place in the semifinals later that day.

Unfortunately, Bainbridge was the only boat in the semifinal Saturday afternoon that had to race on Saturday morning, and it showed – Bainbridge finished fifth in the semifinals but earned a place in the petite final on Sunday afternoon.

The four finished fourth in the petite final, less than five seconds behind the winner and just one second out of third place.

Though disappointed that his crew didn’t make the Grand Final, coach Morgan Seeley was pleased with their performance.

“The girls rowed faster each race, improved their tactics with each race, and proved that Bainbridge Island had earned a place at the national championship,” he said.

According to Seeley, Mikey McGuire had her “best race ever” in the in the varsity girl’s single semifinals, where she took 13 seconds off her previous best time and missed making the grand final by two seconds.

McGuire finished fourth in the petite final, again just a little over a second out of third place.

–With information supplied by BIRC’s Grant Dull

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