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Archive for the ‘Little League’ Category

The CWLL Majors baseball squad can have plenty more celebrations like this, if the Wolves reignite their bats. (Carron Chernobieff photo)

The bats went silent at the worst possible moment.

Unable to muster any kind of sustained offensive attack Monday, the Central Whidbey Little League Majors baseball squad fell 6-0 to arch-rival South Whidbey in the opening game of the District 11 All-Stars tourney.

While the loss drops the Wolves to 10-7 on the season, they’re still alive in the six-team, double-elimination royal rumble.

Central Whidbey returns to Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park Wednesday to face either Burlington-Edison or Sedro-Woolley in a loser-out game.

First pitch, weather permitting, is set for 6 PM.

If the Wolves want to play further into the tournament, which runs through Sunday, they’ll need to find a way to fire-up their bats, and not repeat Monday’s two-hit, 16-strikeout showing at the plate.

“We are just unable at times to get the bat off our shoulders or get a string of swings to make contact,” said Central coach Jon Roberts. “We saw five really good pitchers today, but we just looked flat.”

There was a point mid-way through the game where it looked like Central Whidbey would never make contact, as its first 11 batters all went down swinging.

That finally changed when catcher Chase Anderson thumped a two-out single down the first-base line in the top of the fourth, breaking up a most discouraging day at the plate for the Wolves.

South Whidbey, while finally dinged, struck right back, gunning down Anderson as he tried to steal second, then whiffing five more batters over the final two innings.

The second Central Whidbey hit came courtesy Camden Glover, and it was a beauty.

Hitting with two outs and no one aboard in the fifth, he cranked a shot to right field for a solid base-knock, then scampered to second on a passed ball while John Rachal was hitting.

Rachal smoked a shot on the next pitch, sending a skipper towards third, but South Whidbey’s defense was air-tight, and that was it for any hint of offense from the Wolves.

While it couldn’t generate any runs, Central Whidbey stayed in the game thanks to strong pitching and a couple of defensive gems.

South Whidbey scored in each of the first four innings, but couldn’t push across more than two runs in any frame.

Keeping things tamped down, the Wolves came up with back-to-back big plays in the field in the bottom of the second.

With two runners aboard and no one out, Central Whidbey thwarted a rally, thanks to Anderson making something out of nothing.

A pitch from Wolf hurler Landon Roberts got loose, but his catcher spun, chased down the ball, then whirled and pegged a near-perfect throw right into Glover’s mitt at third.

Ball kissed leather, the tag was slapped with precision, and what looked like a potential back-breaker of a play turned into a positive moment for Central Whidbey in about two blinks of an eye.

On the next play Jack Porter came crashing in from center field, went to his knees, then made a superb catch on a rapidly-falling ball which had extra bases written all over it.

Those plays, and a well-timed relay later in the game, which broke up a double steal and nailed an incoming runner at home, gave Wolf fans something to cheer about.

That, and effective work from a four-pack of pitchers.

Roberts carried the brunt of the workload, toeing the rubber through the first 2.1 innings, before Porter, Glover, and Anderson combined to share the final 2.2 frames.

All four Wolf pitchers recorded two strikeouts apiece, with Central Whidbey putting together a rare four-strikeout inning in the third.

Roberts and Porter split the K’s, but on the first one, the third strike got away from Anderson and the batter broke for first.

Once again the Wolf catcher made an alert, head-ups play, though this time he wasn’t rewarded.

Snatching up the bouncing ball, Anderson lunged and appeared to have tagged South Whidbey’s slugger from behind. But, after a long discussion, the game’s three umps declined to give him the call.

Now that they’re in the playoffs, the Wolves will likely be out-manned at every step along the way.

While South Whidbey has two teams to combine into one all-star squad, North Whidbey has four, and all the off-Island programs boast large talent pools, Central Whidbey has 11 players, total.

Aiden O’Neill, Johnny Porter, Marcelo Gebhard, Jordan Bradford, Alex Smith, and Jacob Schooley round out the Wolf roster.

Which doesn’t mean Central Whidbey has to go down without a fight. The key will be how big a fight it chooses to generate.

As the Wolves prepare for Wednesday’s game, their coaching staff wants to see a game-long effort which matches the intensity shown on that dropped third-strike play by their catcher.

“That’s what we talked about after the game,” Jon Roberts said. “They have to want this, they have to have that desire to win at all costs.

“They have to be willing to dive for every ball, hustle on every play, make some noise, show some life out there.”

And getting a few hits wouldn’t hurt, either.

 

South Whidbey’s unsung MVP:

While the future Falcons got stellar work from a wide variety of players, we’re honoring Alexander Zarifis, whose dad Steve is the South Whidbey coach.

The plucky younger Zarifis had the friendliest fan club of any rival player, plus he showed a laser-like focus while warming up a teammate in between innings.

Said fan club, led by older sister Caitlin, who appeared in many a production of The Nutcracker with Coupeville dance royalty like Skyy Lippo, did its best hootin’ and hollerin’ as Alexander worked next to the left field fence.

Eyes hidden behind his sun glasses, he was having none of it, however, whipping the ball back and forth, ignoring his family’s efforts to make him blush.

Kid’s a freakin’ Terminator, he is. Just the way his dad/coach probably likes it.

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The Central Whidbey Little League Majors baseball squad kicks off the district tourney in Oak Harbor next week.

Ready to dominate. (Carron Chernobieff photo)

Now it’s baseball’s turn.

With the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad back home after making a run at the state tourney in Poulsbo, their hardball counterparts are set for their playoff debut.

The CWLL Majors baseball squad kicks off the district tournament Monday, June 8 at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor.

The Wolves, who sit at 10-6 on the season, open the six-team double-elimination brawl against South Whidbey, while Anacortes plays Burlington.

Win Monday and Central faces tourney host North Whidbey June 9, while Sedro-Woolley awaits the survivor of Monday’s other game.

Lose their opener and the Wolves drop into the lower half of the bracket and play their second game June 10.

The tourney runs June 8-14, with games at 6 PM every day until Saturday, June 13, when the first game of the championship series goes at 2 PM.

If the final two teams standing each have one loss after that game, the finale on the 14th is also at 2 PM.

The winner claims the District 11 title banner, and punches a ticket to the state tournament.

 

Central’s roster:

1 – Alex Smith
3 – Aiden O’Neill
4 – Landon Roberts
5 – Chase Anderson
6 – Johnny Porter
7 – Jack Porter
8 – John Rachal
9 – Jordan Bradford
10 – Camden Glover
11 – Marcelo Gebhard
15- Jacob Schooley

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Mia Farris picked up Central Whidbey’s lone RBI Sunday, as the Hammerheads fell to Shoreline and were eliminated from the state tourney. (Jackie Saia photos)

Chloe Marzocca scored one of her team’s two runs on the afternoon.

This is just the start for Brionna Blouin and Co.

The season has come to a close, but the dream has just been sparked.

A 13-2 loss to Shoreline Sunday at the state tourney in Poulsbo eliminated the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad.

But while they’re headed back to Coupeville after going two and out at the big dance, the Hammerheads will have much to be thrilled about when they look back.

Central Whidbey finished a stellar 17-4, outscored foes 295-105, and showed class and talent while frequently facing-off with rivals with much-deeper rosters.

At both districts and the state tournament, most of the teams were true all-star squads, with players selected from multiple leagues.

With the Hammerheads, there was 12 girls — the same young women who played during the regular season — three coaches, and a vocal, supportive fan base.

All for one, and one for all, and the future of Coupeville softball just gets brighter and brighter.

The high school squad made it to state this spring, punching its ticket for the first time in five years.

Once there, the Wolves KO’d highly-ranked Deer Park, came within a play or two of upending Cle Elum, and hung with eventual state champ Montesano as much as anyone did.

You take that group, and it only loses three seniors, then you add players from the CWLL Juniors team, which finished 13-1 this spring, and the roster is loaded, the program is booming.

And now, coming up hot on their heels will be the Hammerhead players, who are tearing things up before many of them even hit middle school.

It’s an exciting time for softball in Cow Town, and it’s only going to get better.

Which is why, though they are surely saddened by losing Sunday, the Hammerheads should walk tall as they return to The Rock.

Facing a very-strong Shoreline team, Central Whidbey got the first punch in, and it was a solid one.

Lead-off hitter Savina Wells spanked a triple to center, then zinged home with the game’s first score when Mia Farris cracked a hard grounder to second.

Unfortunately, the three-bagger would be the one and only hit the Hammerheads would collect on the afternoon, and they only got a handful of runners aboard.

Chloe Marzocca bombed a ball off the right-fielder’s glove in the second inning, reaching on the resulting error.

After a steal of third, she came flying home on a passed ball to round out the Central scoring.

Other than those two brief moments, however, the Hammerheads were held to a pair of walks, as Taylor Brotemarkle and Jada Heaton eked out free passes, but were stranded on the bags.

Shoreline, on the other hand, reached base often, using an assortment of hits, walks, and Central Whidbey errors to push a steady string of runners across the plate.

Four runs in the bottom of the first gave them the lead, another five in the second stretched the margin out to 9-2, and a final four-spot in the third assured the mercy rule would end the game early.

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Not even a loss on day one of the state tournament could dampen the mood in the Central Whidbey dugout. (Jackie Saia photos)

Madison McMillan cranks it up and gets ready to fire a laser to Mia Farris at first.

Hammerhead coach Fred Farris is a man of many talents.

Teagan Calkins stares into a bright future.

Savina Wells deals heat from the pitcher’s circle.

Braids on point, Coupeville’s diamond warriors head into battle.

Aleksia Jump gets a little work in, while also relaxing.

Katie Marti fires up the Hammerhead bench.

It’s good to have your own personal photographer.

As the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball team winds its way through the state tourney, Hammerhead mom (and camera clicker extraordinaire) Jackie Saia is on the scene in Poulsbo.

The pics above are but a taste of what she shot Saturday afternoon on day one of the 10-team, double-elimination royal rumble.

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Coach Kim Brotemarkle does Teagan Calkin’s hair Saturday before the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad opened the state tourney. (Jackie Saia photos)

Chloe Marzocca photo-bombs Hammerhead moms Jennifer Marzocca (left) and Jennifer McDavid-Heaton.

The Hammerheads enjoy their time in Poulsbo.

First-baseman Mia Farris played strongly on defense in her team’s opener.

Brionna Blouin (left) and Savina Wells wait for the action to get hoppin’.

They walked right into a buzzsaw.

The Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad opened the state tournament Saturday in Poulsbo, and it became apparent quickly why its opponent, tourney host North Kitsap, had qualified for the 10-team draw.

Pounding out 13 hits, while limiting the Hammerheads to just three walks and no base-knocks, North Kitsap cruised in with a 12-1 win in a game called after four innings.

While the loss drops Central Whidbey to 17-3 on the season, Coupeville’s all-stars are still alive in the double-elimination royal rumble, and will play 3 PM Sunday in a loser-out game.

The state tourney runs through July 7.

North Kitsap, which was playing as the road team, jumped on Central for six runs in the top of the first, then added four more in the second, before tacking on a final two-spot in the third.

The Hammerheads closed strongly, though, winning both halves of the fourth inning.

In the top of the frame, catcher Brionna Blouin threw out a runner headed to third, delivering the ball right into teammate Madison McMillan’s glove.

That, combined with Hammerhead first-baseman Mia Farris tracking down a pop-up in foul territory, then making an unassisted put-out on a ground ball, held North Kitsap scoreless.

In their final at-bats, the Hammerheads got a walk from lead-off hitter Savina Wells, then got creative to bring her around to score.

After Wells stole second base, one of two successful thefts on the afternoon for the just-graduated 6th grader, she scampered to third when Farris got aboard thanks to a dropped third strike.

McMillan capped Central’s only rally of the game, when she cracked a RBI ground-out to the Kitsap shortstop, plating Wells with her team’s lone run.

The Hammerheads went down one-two-three in both the second and third, with the first inning the only other time they were able to get much going against very-effective Kitsap hurlers.

Wells and Nastali eked out back-to-back walks to open the bottom of the first, but they both died on the base-paths, as Central was unable to get the key hit it needed to get things really rolling.

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