North Kitsap 16s All-Stars advance to regionals

POULSBO — North Kitsap’s 16-year-olds Babe Ruth All-Star team didn’t put forth its most memorable performance, but manager Rick Ritter will take it nonetheless.

Ritter watched his team advance to the Babe Ruth 16-year-olds regional tournament in Moses Lake after taking third place at the state tournament at Snider Park from July 19-22.

North finished the tourney with a 1-1 record.

“We finished in third place out of five teams,” Ritter said. “This team has been together for a while and this is the third time in four years they have made it to regionals as a team.”

After dropping its first contest 10-0 to North Bend, and winning its second game 13-8 against Issaquah, Ritter said his team was looking forward to its rematch against North Bend in the third place game. The winner of the contest would nab a berth at the regional tournament as the No. 3 seed.

“This was the game to decide if we got third place or not. It kept raining really hard and the game kept getting postponed and suspended,” Ritter said. “After a while, they (North Bend) decided they didn’t want to wait any longer and left.”

Ritter said he believes his team has a good chance of taking first place out of the five teams at regionals. If it captures first place, the team will advance to the Babe Ruth 16-year-olds World Series from Aug. 10-18 in Bentonville, Ark.

“We have a decent chance of winning the tournament,” he said. “We’re just going to go out there and play hard and have fun. We know what to expect. They’re good kids.”

Ritter said most of the teams they will face are from the Evergreen State.

“All of the teams but one are from Washington,” he said. “That’s a big change because in the past there were always some teams from Montana and Idaho.”

North’s biggest strengths lay in its potent well-rounded batting lineup.

“We have a lot of big kids on our team,” Ritter said. “We have guys who hit singles and line drives, too. It works out pretty well.”

North Kitsap played its first game of the regional tournament today. As of press time, its opponent had yet to be determined.