BOZEMAN, MONTANA — The Diamond Dusters North Kitsap select softball finished the season as the best team in the Pacific Northwest.
The Dusters advanced to the 18U Amateur Softball Association National Tournament in College Station, Texas after defeating the Yakima Steelers 4-3 in the regional championship tournament July 22 in Bozeman, Mont. Unfortunately, the Diamond Dusters won’t be making the trek to the lone star state for nationals because of money constraints — though the team decided it was alright with this turn of events.
The decision was made by Diamond Dusters North manager Jake Wallace and his staff when they put together the teams budget in fall 2006.
“The decision not to make the trip to nationals was made in September,” he said. “It was something we didn’t budget for. We had seven seniors who already had graduated high school (in June) on our team this year. We decided we were just going to play in local tournaments.”
Despite not competing at nationals, Wallace was thrilled with his team’s effort throughout the massive amount of games this summer. Most teams end their seasons on a losing note, but the Diamond Dusters finished with a seven-game winning streak, compiling a record of 8-1 at regionals.
“We lost our second game but we won seven straight games and won five on the final day of the tournament to take it,” Wallace said. “We played nine games in two days. They wanted it, fought hard and did it. That’s why they’re the champions.”
Wallace said his team met every expectation bestowed upon them this summer.
“It was sort of the last hurrah for our team,” he said. “We had a great run this year. I am pretty satisfied with how our team performed. Being able to win our final tournament together as a team is something else. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I think every parent and kid on the team feels the same way.”
Winning regionals always was the goal, Wallace said.
“There’s nothing else more our team could have accomplished,” he said. “We accomplished what we set out to do in Bozeman.”
The Dusters outscored their opponents 55-24 in its nine contests at regionals. They pounded out 89 hits during the tourney.
The Diamond Duster players, who have been practicing throughout the summer at North Kitsap High School, participated in 10 tournaments during the past two months, capturing the tournament championship in three they participated in.
The North Kitsap High School softball team quartet of Kendal Peiguss, Hannah McCluskey, Amanda Chartrand and Josie Ball along with various other softball stalwarts across Kitsap County helped the Diamond Dusters to an overall record of 40-21 during the summer season.