PORT ANGELES — The 15-year-old North Kitsap Babe Ruth All-Stars beat Olympic the past three years at the state tournament.
But this year it was Olympic’s turn.
After a string of 10 wins throughout the season and a 4-0 record at the state tournament in Port Angeles July 10-13, the All-Stars dropped the championship game to Port Angles’ Olympic, 6-2.
“They’re a little down today,” said Manager Jeff Reitan. “They’ll get over it. It was definitely an outstanding season.”
Reitan said it was destiny the two teams met up in the championship game, as both were undefeated in pool play. The All-Stars went into the championship game as the National League No. 1 seed and Olympic as the American League No. 1 seed.
Olympic 10-runned all its opponents prior to the championship game and the All-Stars mercy-ruled two of its competitors.
The stage had been set.
The All-Stars entered the championship bout on low steam, as it had just played and defeated South Kitsap 4-1 a few hours earlier.
Jon Hawkins pitched the championship game and did an outstanding job, Reitan said.
However, Olympic jumped to an early two-run lead in the first inning, added three more in the third and polished off its runs with one in the sixth.
The All-Stars scored its two runs in the sixth inning to “make it close.”
Trent Mitchell got a base on balls followed by a Curtis Wildung base hit. TJ Reitan knocked a sacrifice fly ball to advance the runners. Ean Hollis nailed a grounder for an RBI as it plated Mitchell and Wildung sailed home on an Olympic error.
Reitan said the whole weekend was a team effort, but for the championship game it just wasn’t enough.
Olympic heads to Lewiston, Idaho, for regionals. For the All-Stars, it’s time to enjoy the summer and go fishing, as their season is over.
“We had a 10-game winning streak. That was pretty impressive, but you lose one and you go home,” Reitan said. “As heartbreaking as it is, it’s good to start summer.”
Reitan said Olympic is an excellent team that hit the ball “really hard,” and only made one error. Olympic’s been playing as long as the All-Stars.
Although the loss to Olympic was disappointing, the All-Stars have several reasons to smile about their state tournament play.
“We just played with a lot of enthusiasm. Our camaraderie was so important,” Reitan said. “We played together as a team, and everybody — including the fans — were just so supportive of each other and kept us up even when things could have been tough.”
On Thursday, during pool play, the All-Stars defeated Sequim, 7-6.
Although Sequim out-hit the All-Stars 13-10 and led NK 5-1 in the fifth inning, a string of three Sequim errors helped the Babe Ruths get back in the game for the win.
On Friday the All-Stars stomped Central Basin — the reigning state champs — 20-2 in five innings.
It was a close 5-2 contest until the fifth inning and then the All-Stars let loose with a string of 15 runs.
Reitan said the multitude of runs was a combination of lots of base hits for the entire team and a break down in Central’s defense.
“We just took advantage of it,” Reitan said. “We fed 27 batters to the plate in that inning. We just kept going.”
On Saturday NK crushed its closest rival, Bainbridge Island, 19-3 in five innings.
The All-Stars leapt to an early 7-0 lead in the first inning, added five runs in the third and seven more in the fourth.
“We just jumped all over them from the start,” Reitan said. “It was hit and swing away for us. We were definitely a superior team in that aspect.”
The victory over Bainbridge synched the All-Stars No. 1 seed heading into the championship rounds.
On Sunday in the semi-final contest NK pulled a narrow victory over the American League No. 2 seed, South Kitsap, 4-1.
Reitan said SK’s pitcher was a left-hander who threw a large variety of pitches that shut the All-Stars’ bats down. But the boys from NK rallied for one run in the first and three in the fifth.
Max Sagdahl, Garrett Ramstead and Matt Ramstead each had a base hit and a score to secure the semi-final win.
Matt’s pitching was also key in the victory, as he only allowed two hits in six innings.
“It was effective, smart, heads-up pitching,” Reitan said. “It was just a great game by him.”
Although the All-Stars have hung their gloves for another year, they had a wildly successful season. A season full of wins and team unity.
“They were an outstanding group of kids,” Reitan said. “We had a lot of fun.”