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West Sound ousted quickly at regionals
It was two-and-out for the Port Orchard-based West Puget Sound team last week at the Big League Western Regional baseball tournament at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
West Puget Sound, comprised of All-Star players from North Kitsap, South Kitsap and Key Peninsula Little League, lost its first two games of the tournament, 7-2 to Holliday Park, Ariz. and 18-0 to Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“You never want to go 0-for in a tournament,” said West Sound pitcher Mike Shockey, who allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in a start against Thousand Oaks.
The host team avoided that scenario with an 11-1 win Wednesday over Gresham, Ore. in its third and final game of the pool-play tournament. Six West Sound players drove in runs, including Jordan Freiboth’s RBI double in the first inning. Matt Ramstead pitched four innings to pick up the win.
While the losses to Arizona and California meant West Puget Sound couldn’t advance to the semifinals even with a win, there was plenty to play for in the tournament finale.
“It was a game for pride,” said Pat Ryan, the administrator of Washington District 2 Little League, to which West Puget Sound belongs.
Nine teams participated in the tournament, including a West Seattle team from Washington District 7. There also were teams from Hawaii, Montana and Nevada. The tournament winner advances to the Big League World Series in South Carolina, beginning July 29.
This was the third consecutive year the Big League Western Regional was played at Lobe Fields at the Fairgrounds. Ryan said he plans to put a bid in to host the tournament in 2010.
Big League baseball, which is open to players 16 to 18 years old, is the oldest age group for Little League. It has leagues in North and South Kitsap, but none in Bremerton or Central Kitsap.
Ryan said he hopes to expand the league into CK and Bremerton to give those players an opportunity to play spring baseball. Last year, the league expanded both its North Kitsap and West Central boundaries to allow players who live in CK and Bremerton to sign up.
Still, Ryan said, the CK/Bremerton region doesn’t have a strong Little League representation in terms of numbers. He’d like to see that change.
“It seems like there aren’t as many opportunities for kids to play ball if they don’t pay for select ball,” Ryan said. “We’d love to provide a program for that age group to play ball during the spring. We’re just looking for kids who want to play ball.”
The Big League season runs from the end of March to mid-June, with the All-Star season beginning in July.