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Madison McMillan cranked a game-changing three-run home run Sunday, keeping Whidbey’s state title hopes alive. (Jackie Saia photos)

Adyson Morales whiffed seven batters for the Inferno.

I assumed something went wrong with my phone.

Working on my sister’s farm Sunday, I peeked once to see how the Whidbey Island All-Star juniors softball team was doing in its loser-out game at the state tourney in Vancouver.

The answer: the Inferno were scuffling, held to three singles and no runs through five innings, and trailing South Hill of Puyallup 5-0.

Three hours later, I grabbed my phone, saw that the GameChanger app was claiming Whidbey had won 19-10, preserving its hopes of a state title, and thought I had tapped on the wrong game.

But it was true. All true.

Really. Seriously. Really.

Staging one of the great comebacks in Whidbey youth athletic history, the Inferno unleashed a tsunami in the final two innings, raining down 19 runs on 21 hits, including nine of the extra-base variety.

Better still, 13 of those runs, including a game-changing out-of-the-park three-run home run from Coupeville’s Madison McMillan, came with the Inferno just a single out away from being eliminated.

South Hill needed 21 outs to stay alive and move on to face Mukilteo Monday night in another loser-out game, but got to 20 outs and then promptly imploded.

Or, more accurately, Whidbey dropped a nuclear bomb on their foes hopes and dreams, creating a beautiful ballet of death and destruction on the diamond.

“That was nuts,” said mentally-exhausted Inferno coach Fred Farris. “Greatest sports moment I’ve been a part of, or frankly ever watched.

“I’m speechless!”

You can sum the first five innings of the game up by simply saying, “Not much was working for Whidbey.”

Maybe still reeling a bit from a one-run loss to Camas Saturday in their tourney opener, the Inferno couldn’t get anything started.

Savina Wells and Loto Tupu whacked singles in the second inning, only to be stranded, and that was almost the full extent of Whidbey’s offensive output until late.

But big bats can stay quiet only so long, and the Inferno finally broke through.

Trailing 5-0 heading into the top of the sixth inning, Whidbey got a one-out single from Taylor Brotemarkle, then started to find its usual free-flowing groove.

After not getting a single extra-base hit up until then, the Inferno unloaded for five doubles in the inning, with Payton Ludemann, Adyson Morales, Wells, McMillan, and Tupu all bashing the ball.

That allowed Whidbey to scrape together six runs and take their first lead of the game at 6-5, but it was a lead which vanished almost as quickly as it came.

South Hill bounced right back to slap four runs on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the frame, regaining the upper hand at 9-6, and things looked dire.

A strong defensive play, with Brotemarkle rifling a throw off a one-hopper to right, and Mia Farris making “an incredible stretch” to haul in the throw at first, kept the damage from being worse.

But things weren’t looking good in the top of the seventh and final inning, as two of Whidbey’s first three hitters went down.

Haylee Burleigh poked a single to left to put one runner aboard, but the end of the season, and the little league careers of many of the Inferno players, seemed a mere moment away.

Who knew that final moment would stretch out into eternity?

With everything hinging on her, Coupeville catcher Teagan Calkins — an artful photographer, a quick cross country runner, and a high-achieving student — ambled to the plate.

And thus began the Ragnarok which would reduce South Hill to a pile of rubble.

Calkins whacked a single to center to keep the game going, Wells followed with an RBI single to short to cut the lead to 9-7, then McMillan got epic.

Swinging the hammer of the gods, one of Coupeville’s best and brightest mashed the kind of dinger which can define a career, and launch years of future softball excellence in her home town.

Boom, 10-9 Inferno — game over on the spot, essentially, even if the two teams played on for a while longer.

Her coach, who has seen a lot of games in a lot of sports in his time, was suitably impressed.

Madison hit it WAY over the fence,” Fred Farris said. “The girls really fed off that.

“It was probably five foot fair and 20 feet over the foul pole, and still climbing!”

There were still 10 more hits, and another nine runs to score before the inning came to an end, and it was artistry, pure artistry.

One out from elimination, the Inferno responded with 13 consecutive hits, with Calkins, Wells, McMillan, and Layla Suto collecting two base-knocks apiece during the streak.

The run only came to an end when Mia Farris was drilled by a pitch, one of two times Whidbey players were plunked on the afternoon, but by then, South Hill was dead and buried.

The Puyallup nine did scrape out one run in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t mount a rally against Wells, who was on in relief of Morales.

Whidbey’s pitchers combined for nine strikeouts on the afternoon, with Morales netting seven of those.

Calkins and Wells finished with four hits apiece to pace the Inferno, with McMillan thumping three and collecting a game-high six RBI.

Burleigh (2), Morales (2), Suto (2), Tupu (2), Brotemarkle (2), Mia Farris (1), Ludemann (1), and Katie Marti (1) also garnered hits, with Jada Heaton and Lilly Norman rounding out Whidbey’s roster.

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“We’re going to state!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“But first, time to snatch a Slurpee, if I hurry!!”

Slap back a Slurpee and help support some of Whidbey’s best little league diamond dandies.

The Oak Harbor 7-11 located next to the new MOD Pizza is holding a two-day fundraiser July 2-3 to benefit North Whidbey Little League teams.

Stop in — they’re located at 31300 State Route 20 — and buy a Slurpee either one of those days and 100% of the proceeds goes to fund NWLL.

One of the teams you’ll be helping is the Whidbey Island All-Stars juniors softball team, a joint effort of Oak Harbor and Coupeville players.

That squad, which won the District 11 title this past weekend, are headed to the state tourney in Vancouver in early July.

Slurpees, and supporting diamond dreams?

It’s called a win-win.

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Rhododendron Park was the place to be Saturday, if you were hankering for big-time softball action. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The action was booming, inside and outside the baselines.

The Whidbey Island All-Stars juniors softball squad rolled to a pair of big wins Saturday, claiming a District 11 title and clinching a trip to the state tourney.

Trying to keep his cameras from melting in the blazing sun, ever-wandering photo whiz kid John Fisken was on hand to capture action in the opener.

The pics above and below are courtesy him.

To see more, and possibly buy some glossies for grandma, pop over to:

SB 2021-06-26 Jr All-Stars vs S. Skagit – John’s Photos (johnsphotos.net)

 

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The bats were on fire Saturday for the Whidbey Island All-Stars juniors softball team. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

One of 47 runs scored by the Inferno.

Vancouver, here they come.

Delivering a blistering offensive attack under a blazing sun Saturday, the Whidbey Island Inferno All-Stars juniors softball team cruised to a pair of victories, claiming a District 11 title.

Dismantling the Skagit County All-Stars 20-0 and 27-1 at Coupeville’s Rhododendron Park, the Inferno claimed their district’s berth to the state tournament, which begins July 10.

The Whidbey Island All-Stars, who carry a 14-player roster which boasts seven players each from Coupeville and Oak Harbor, proved to be a well-balanced, and extremely-deadly squad.

“Girls were awesome today!,” said Whidbey coach Fred Farris. “Everyone contributed and both (pitching) batteries were awesome! Great defense all the way around.”

How Saturday played out:

 

Game 1:

Playing as the road team, even though it hosted the district tourney, Whidbey Island essentially put the game away with a six-run top of the first.

From there, the Inferno slowly built the lead out to 8-0, then opened a can of whup-ass in the top of the fourth, raining down 12 runs and bringing the mercy rule into effect.

Whidbey opened things up with a five-hit explosion in the first, with three of those base-knocks being of the extra-base variety.

Doubles from Haylee Burleigh and Loto Tupu were big, while Coupeville’s Savina Wells rocked the joint with an RBI triple to center field.

New teammate Layla Suto went her one base better in the second inning, blasting an inside-the-park solo home run, before Wells came around to mash both a double and another triple in the fourth inning.

Madison McMillan added a two-bagger as Whidbey finished with seven extra-base hits among 15 base-knocks in the opener.

While the bats were electric, the Inferno was also lights-out on defense, while Wells offered the visitors little to hit while wheeling and dealing from the pitcher’s circle.

The incoming Coupeville High School freshman whiffed five across four innings of work, scattering five hits and never putting herself in danger.

 

Game 2:

There was no 12-run explosion in the nightcap, just the steady drip-drip-drip of runs splashing across the scoreboard.

Seven Inferno players tapped home in the first, with another five coming across in the second.

Tack on eight in the third and a final seven in the fourth, and the electronic numbers kept hoppin’.

Whidbey whacked six extra-base hits in game two, with McMillan crunching a triple, and Payton Ludemann rifling a pair of doubles.

Taylor Brotemarkle, Wells, and Tupu also collected two-baggers as part of an 18-hit rain of terror.

Ramona Ryder moved in to the circle to pitch the closer, limiting Skagit County to just a single hit, while piling up five K’s.

While offense largely carried the game, defense had its moments as well, with Burleigh and Mia Farris teaming up for an inning-ending double play on a pop-up to second base.

 

District tourney stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle (2 runs, 3 hits, 1 RBI)
Haylee Burleigh (3 runs, 1 hit, 1 RBI, 2 walks)
Teagan Calkins (4 runs, 2 hits, 4 walks)
Mia Farris (6 runs, 2 hits, 1 RBI, 3 walks)
Jada Heaton (1 run)
Payton Ludemann (2 runs, 2 hits, 1 RBI, 1 walk)
Katie Marti (1 run, 1 walk)
Madison McMillan (6 runs, 3 hits, 5 RBI, 2 walks)
Lilly Norman (1 run, 1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 walk)
Ramona Ryder (3 runs, 3 hits, 2 RBI)
Layla Suto (7 runs, 4 hits, 2 RBI, 3 walks)
Loto Tupu (4 runs, 5 hits, 3 RBI)
Savina Wells (7 runs, 7 hits, 7 RBI)

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Little League action is heating up. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The uniforms say North and South Whidbey, but some of the players are from Central Whidbey.

So, thanks to that Coupeville-related loophole, we have glossy pics from a little league Majors baseball game in which both teams were the Mariners.

Confused? Yes, you are.

Anyways, the pics are courtesy wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken, and you can see (and buy) many more photos here:

BB 2021-05-13 Major CWLL at NWLL – John’s Photos (johnsphotos.net)

 

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