Once more — with feeling

Good teams always respond to a challenge.

Tuesday’s Snapple Senior High School All Star Game doubleheader was no different, as the National League brought 11 batters to the plate in a seven-run third inning to a 14-8 win in the nightcap and sweep the American League at Legion Field.

The American League took a quick lead in the first inning when North Kitsap’s J.B. Kandoll hit a 1-0 pitch from Port Townsend’s Chad Holbrook over the left-center field fence for a grand slam to take a 4-0 lead.

“It was a fastball right down the middle,” said Kandoll, who will play at Saint Martin’s College in Lacey next year.

That helped Kandoll, who finished with five RBI in the two games, earn the second-annual Elton Goodwin MVP award. Goodwin is a local baseball legend who led South Kitsap to three state championships, including his final year in 2003.

The honors proved to be virtually meaningless on the scoreboard, though.

SK’s Aaron Cunningham scored prep teammate Pat Kelly from third base, cutting the American League’s lead to 4-1. Kelly came through again in the third inning with a single to score Port Angeles’ Chris Fries and Paul Rymer.

A misplayed fly ball by the left fielder in the ensuing at bat by Cunningham scored South Kitsap’s Craig Senter to tie the game, 4-4. The American League took its first lead, 5-4, on an RBI single by Central Kitsap’s Matt Phillips in the following at bat.

“I knew that I had to get the RBI,” said Phillips, who is deciding between offers from Olympic College and Skagit Valley College. “After I got in, I knew we had the game.”

The American League closed the gap to 8-7 by scoring three runs in the

fourth inning, but Olympic pitcher Stephen Braun surrendered six runs in the fourth inning to put the National League up for good.

Holbrook earned the win, while Hultberg recorded the loss.

In the earlier game, a two-RBI double by Port Townsend’s Jerimiah Fountain produced the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the National League claimed a 5-2 victory.

The four-run eighth inning was produced against NK standout pitcher Kevin Howe.

“He’s got a nasty slider,” said Senter, who’s attending the University of Hawaii on an academic scholarship and won’t play baseball. “I think we just got some lucky hits off the end of the bat.”

Howe agreed. “The last two little fly balls were good pitches, I think,” said Howe, who is considering playing baseball at Gonzaga University and Washington State University. “They just hit them.”

Bremerton’s Jeff Lee was one of the few batters who seemed to see the ball well in the first game as he produced the National League’s first run on an RBI double off the right-center field wall.

“It felt good,” said Lee, who intends to play baseball at Olympic College next year. “It was just a curveball that hung over the plate too long.”

Olympic’s Jeff Shaw, who will play at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, said unexpected performances shouldn’t be a suprise during all-star games.

“I took batting practice (Monday), but I haven’t really swung lately,” said Shaw, adding that most players take time off after the playoffs, which means many players aren’t as sharp.


-- One noticeable absentee from the all-star game was SK’s Chris Anderson.

That’s because Anderson said he sustained a sprained left medial collateral ligament while riding a four-wheeler in Eastern Washington.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t an a torn ligament,” said Anderson, who will walk on as a linebacker at Eastern Washington University.

n Kelly won both the run around the bases and home run derby competitions between the games.

The future Bellevue Community College player was clocked at 14.88 seconds around the bases and hit three home runs.

“I’ve always been one of the fastest kids,” he said. “I didn’t play the last five innings, so I kind of stretched out to prepare.”

Kelly, who isn’t known as a home-run hitter, said he took advantage of the conditions at Legion Field to win that competition.

“I knew the wind was blowing in from left field,” he said. “I had the uppercut swing (working) and the ball was flying out.”

-- Ten players from the all-star games were nominated for the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association All-State Series June 12-13 in Wenatchee.

Those athletes include Cunningham, Zach Gagnon (Shelton), Holbrook, Hultberg, Kandoll, Kelly, Brent Nickerson (SK), Kevin Owens (Gig Harbor), Dan Peck (NK) and Shaw.

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