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Posts Tagged ‘John Rachal’

Swinging hot bats, Central Whidbey pounded out 10 hits Wednesday as it beat Sedro-Woolley 10-1 in the district playoffs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The season rolls on.

Overcoming slashing rain and a muddy field at Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park Wednesday, the Central Whidbey Little League Majors baseball squad kept its playoff dream alive.

Two days after whiffing 16 times in a loss to South Whidbey in the opener of the District 11 tourney, the Wolves bounced back, shredding Sedro-Woolley 10-1.

Along the way, Central Whidbey racked up 10 base-knocks and eight walks, while its pitchers combined to hurl 11 strikeouts.

The win lifts CWLL to 11-7 on the season, and guarantees the team at least one more game.

Central Whidbey returns to Oak Town Thursday, when it will play either Anacortes or North Whidbey in a 6 PM loser-out game.

Anacortes was up 21-9 in the top of the sixth Wednesday when darkness halted play in that game.

Another victory Thursday, and the Wolves play Friday against either South Whidbey or Burlington-Edison.

The tourney will crown a champ either Saturday or Sunday, with that team punching its ticket to the state tourney.

There were two big questions hanging in the muggy air Wednesday night.

One, would it rain and how much?

The answer, of course it would rain – this is summer on Whidbey Island, and a lot, with sheets of rain turning the area around home plate into a pig’s dream and forcing one extended rain delay and several mini-breaks.

The second question, would Central Whidbey’s bats regain their pop?

The answer, of course they would.

Chase Anderson spanked three hits, Jack Porter and John Rachal walloped two apiece, while Landon Roberts, Alex Smith, and Johnny Porter each added a base-knock.

Central Whidbey collected three doubles, with the biggest blow, by far, erupting off the bat of Rachal.

Swinging out of his shoes, he laced an RBI double which took a big skip, then slammed off the wall in straight-away center field, wowing both his appreciative fan club and the normally unflappable pros in the press box.

And yet, while the final score looks like a blowout, the game was actually a nail-biter until the bottom of the third inning.

Or, about an hour-and-a-half after the game’s first pitch.

Central Whidbey had scraped out a run in the bottom of the first and another in the second to stake itself to a 2-1 lead.

The first Wolf to skid across a very-slick home plate was lead-off hitter Jack Porter, who smoked a single to left-center, then took second thanks to an obstruction call on Sedro’s first-baseman, who wandered in a daze right into the baseline.

With Porter rocking back and forth on the bag, teammate Chase Anderson promptly popped a one-out RBI single to right to get the first click of the night from the scoreboard operator.

While Sedro escaped further damage, ending the inning by nailing a runner at the plate, the damage had been done.

The off-Islanders got their only run in the top of the second thanks to a very-wet ball squirting away from Wolf fielders on one wild ‘n wacky play, but starting pitcher Camden Glover was otherwise untouchable.

He whiffed three in two innings of work, while his catcher, Johnny Porter, threw out both runners who dared to try and run on his cannon of an arm.

Walks to Glover and Jordan Bradford, packaged around a Rachal single which managed to evade three different Sedro fielders, juiced the bags in the bottom of the second, before Aiden O’Neill effectively won the game by sacrificing his body.

Taking a pitch off of his heel, his free pass the hard way forced in Central’s second run, the only other one it would need on the night.

Not that the Wolves were content to stop with a 2-1 lead, instead putting together an 11-batter, six-run outburst in the third.

It started with Johnny Porter skedaddling down the line to first after a dropped third strike, and ended with a bang-bang play at the plate which was one of the few things to go Sedro’s way during the inning.

In between, there were a couple walks, hard choppers which produced runs from Marcelo Gebhard, Smith, and Anderson, and a dramatic two-run double to left from Jack Porter.

Tack on two more runs in the fourth, thanks to Rachal’s big-time blast, and an RBI single from Smith, and the game came dangerously close to being called short thanks to the mercy rule.

And mercy was something Central Whidbey didn’t display, as its pitchers methodically shut down Sedro after the one lucky run.

Glover (three K’s) was followed to the (muddy) mound by Bradford (1), Jack Porter (3), Roberts (2), and Anderson (2) and all kept the ball popping into the mitt.

Along with Wolf catcher Johnny Porter gunning down runners left and right, Central Whidbey got solid defensive plays from first-basemen Roberts and O’Neill.

Roberts stretched out his frame to its last possible inch to snag one throw coming in hot and low.

After replacing him at first, O’Neill made a nice play on a wicked grounder, knocking the skidding ball into the mud, then plucking it out and beating the madly-scrambling hitter to the bag.

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