The Whatcom Americans’ season came to an end during the Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball 11U Pacific Northwest Regional tournament, as they lost to National pool top seed Willamette Valley, Ore., 5-1 on Saturday, July 24, in Meridian, Idaho.
The Americans (31-2) were the No. 2 seed out of the American pool after going 3-1 during semifinal play. They suffered their first loss of the season late Thursday but then bounced back Friday and won both games, including an 11-1 win over Belgrade, Mont. in four innings.
Saturday’s game was scoreless until the top of the third inning, when Willamette Valley scored five unearned runs to break the game open. Whatcom finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff solo home run by Andrew James, but the Americans couldn’t muster a comeback.
Coach Bill Hatchett said his team made a couple of mistakes on the bases but the players battled hard.
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“With our team, five runs is nothing,” Hatchett said. “We can score five runs in the blink of an eye. We never thought we were out of that game.”
After going undefeated throughout the regular season and outscoring their opponents 353-44 in 28 games, the Americans swept through the state tournament 7-0; their batting average was .521 with a team ERA of 0.64.
Reflecting on the season, Hatchett said every youth was a true team player and that it was rare that every one got along and respected the coaches.
“It truly was a magical season,” Hatchett said. “I would do it all over again.”