As fast as it’s flying by, there’s still plenty of summer left, at least according to the to-do list.
The Babe Ruth teams are scattered across the Canadian border over the course of the next several weeks. The state champion Ephrata Tigers 13-year-olds are headed to Calgary, Alberta for the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament.
In fact, the Columbia Basin is sending a few teams north of the border for the regional tournaments. The Moses Lake 14-year-olds won the North Washington Babe Ruth state championship. They go into the regional tournament north of the Medicine Line as the North Washington No. 1 seed. The Basin Rockhounds went three games with the Columbia Basin River Dogs White team, falling in a one-run walk-off in the seventh inning.
They still have a shot at qualifying for the Senior Babe Ruth World Series Aug. 5-12 at Johnson-O’Brien Stadium via the regional championship, which will also be played in Calgary.
Seems kind of fun they are all going to the land where hockey is king, I’m not much of a Flames fan, but I would like a Flames hat for the memoirs. When I was a kid, travel back and forth to summer baseball games was a matter of blocks, not going to another country. I didn’t have to worry about travel visas or packing a bag. It was just grab the glove and go.
I got to laughing with Dean Martinez, who was there over the weekend rooting for the Moses Lake 13-year-olds. “I don’t think they allow Mexicans into Canada,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
Moses Lake 14-year-old skipper Ray Lopez was walking by on the other side of the backstop. Ray, who’s one of Moses Lake’s finest, said, “Sure they do, but it’s like this,” he said assuming the position against the backstop.” It was a good laugh, but there’ll be rules to follow and an international experience to remember a lifetime for the guys headed north to represent North Washington.
We also have the Senior Babe Ruth World Series coming up Aug. 5-12 in Ephrata. It was a gas last year covering the defending national champion River Dogs Blue to the title game, where they were one game away from a repeat performance. It’s always been my experience that the host team that’s given a free ride into the bracket by virtue of “this is our field,” usually ends up cannon fodder when the out-of-town teams roll in.
“We won it last year, almost did it again this year. That shows what kind of ball we play here in the Columbia Basin,” River Dog ace Hunter Boyd told me after the title game last year.
The River Dogs don’t have 12-strikeout a game arm like Hunter this year, but they do have the experience of the Quincy guys Nick Lopez and Kaeden Murphy, who have been the wall and back.
For the first time in River Dog history, they will have two teams in the Senior World Series. The River Dog White qualified on Saturday, holding off the Basin Rockhounds in three games. Vance Alvarado’s walk-off single paved the way to a place in the Show.
“Going to the World Series is pretty cool,” Dominic Signorelli said. “I think we’re just young and dumb we’ll see what happens.”
Wouldn’t that be something, the Little Dogs winning a World Series? We’d have to give them a parade with BJ Garbe, Ryan Doumit and Jason Cooper as the grand marshals.
Yep, there’s plenty of summer left and a chance to see some great baseball at Johnson-O’Brien Stadium. Drop by and root, root, root for the home team.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org