All-Stars stumble out of the gate

Posted 8/6/09

Both losses came in the sixth inning via the 10-run rule.

“We weren't overmatched, we just kind of rolled over and didn't play like we're capable,” said All-Stars coach Pudge Fagan following his team's opening-game loss. “It's …

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All-Stars stumble out of the gate


{gallery}08_06_09/baberuth{/gallery}Powell All-Star Garrett Czapla stepped in to throw a pair of shutout innings against Calgary, Alberta, on Tuesday. Despite the effort, the local Babe Ruth kids came out on the short side of a 14-4, six-inning decision. Powell was back in action Wednesday night against host Centralia, Wash., as it looked for its first Pacific Northwest regional win. Courtesy photo/Greg Wise Powell All-Stars overpowered in first two roundsThe Powell Babe Ruth All-Stars struggled to find their stride during the first two days of Pacific Northwest regional tournament play in Centralia, Wash. The team's first regional appearance in 44 years began Monday with a 12-1 loss to Ontario, Ore., and continued on Tuesday with a 14-4 loss to Calgary, Alberta.

Both losses came in the sixth inning via the 10-run rule.

“We weren't overmatched, we just kind of rolled over and didn't play like we're capable,” said All-Stars coach Pudge Fagan following his team's opening-game loss. “It's kind of like state in the sense that we're definitely not the biggest team here, but I didn't feel like we were overmatched talent-wise.”

The All-Stars certainly didn't do themselves any favors on Monday, however.

Powell pitchers walked 11 Ontario batters to provide the opponent with a number of baserunners. The All-Stars managed to dodge their way out of danger for the first three innings, but finally got trapped in the fourth. Ontario pushed across three runs in the frame, then capitalized on still more Powell wildness in the fifth as it stretched its advantage to 8-0.

The All-Stars' lone run in the game came in the sixth inning with the team trailing by a 12-0 count. Powell had the bases loaded when Justin Lynn was struck by a pitch to force home a run.

Powell's Tuesday game followed a similar script in the sense that the All-Stars were competitive early before running into trouble in the middle innings.

“From what we were told, the Calgary team was organized clear back in April or May, so we were really gunning for them,” said Fagan.

Calgary wasted no time jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but Powell fought back. The All-Stars had two runs cross home in the second inning and added two more in the third to take their first lead at the 2009 Pacific Northwest regional tournament.

“We strung together a couple of nice base hits in both innings and took advantage of a couple of walks and an error,” said Fagan.”

The advantage didn't last long. Powell soon trailed 11-4 as Calgary's bats roared to life to cycle around its order and hang eight runs on board. Powell never recovered from the shell shock and the Alberta team added three runs in the sixth to close out the contest via the 10-run rule.

“We're getting some good experience here,” said Fagan. “The kids are seeing some bigger kids and this is definitely the best pitching we've seen. I've been really impressed with the play of some of our 14-year-olds.

Those kids will be coming back next year and this is great experience for them.”

Fagan also noted the All-Stars are a bit of an anomaly at the tournament.

“We're the last state that's sending our state champion team to regionals,” said Fagan. “These teams that we're seeing from Oregon and Idaho and Montana combine communities to build their teams. I like the way we do it in Wyoming. I hope we resist the temptation and always do it this way.”

Powell's regional tournament appearance continued on Wednesday with an evening contest against Centralia, also winless in two tournament games. The team wraps up pool play against South Coast, Ore., (1-1 in pool) on Friday afternoon.

While the All-Stars are certainly in a hole, the team still has a chance to advance out of its pool and into Saturday's semifinal play. To do so, Powell must win its final two tournament pool games and then receive assistance from other games in the bracket to rise to the front of the tiebreaker formula.

Results from Wednesday's game, which began after the paper went to press, and Friday's competition, are available on the Powell Tribune blog online. Complete regional coverage will also appear in Tuesday's issue of the Powell Tribune.