The Whatcom Americans got to flex a little muscle in their final game of pool play at the Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Pacific Northwest Regional, beating Belgrade, Mont., 11-1 in four innings on Friday, July 23.
The victory ensured the Americans (31-1) will receive the No. 2 seed out of the American pool into the tournament semifinals. Whatcom will face National pool top seed Willamette Valley, Ore., at 9 a.m. (PDT) Saturday, July 23. If they win, they will move on to the regional championship game, which is scheduled for noon Saturday.
“We’re very excited to be in the semifinals of the regional,” Americans coach Bill Hatchett said. “We think we have as good a shot as anyone else to win this thing. Everyone else has really good teams, but we’re happy to have a shot.”
Strong pitching led the way for Whatcom against Belgrade, as Andrew James threw three shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five. Isaiah Carlson finished it out, allowing one hit and striking out three in one inning of work.
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Hatchett said there were too many offensive heroes to list from the game, as the Americans piled up 11 hits.
Earlier in the day, the Americans bounced back from their first loss of the season on Thursday with a 3-1 pool-play win over West Linn, Ore.
The Americans again relied on solid pitching, as Landon Hatchett allowed just two hits and no earned runs while striking out seven in five innings, before Clayton O’Larey picked up the save with a scoreless sixth, in which he allowed a hit and struck out two.
Despite the strong pitching, Whatcom still trailed 1-0 heading into the fifth. But the Americans managed to scratch out a run to tie the score, before Carlson singled up the middle to bring home two runners, including the winning run.
Because it is an odd-numbered year, Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball does not have a World Series for the 11U classification, meaning Saturday will be Whatcom’s final games of the season regardless of what happens.