The FCA Lumberjacks took fifth place in the Cal Ripken 10u regional tournament after they beat Bitterroot, Montana, on July 22. The baseball team made up of boys from Woodland, Ridgefield and Kalama also secured first place in the state tournament.
Team manager Nic Patee said the team’s placement was exciting.
“Watching the boys get to improve and see how far they came, and see how far they grew as a team was pretty special,” Patee said. “It was icing on the cake.”
Patee said the win was special because of the amount of work the boys put in. They started their season playing games against “high-end” club teams in Vancouver and Portland, and traveled often.
“We took our bumps and bruises early on in the season, but we started to see progress and the boys just worked hard,” he said. “All the bruises we took at the beginning of the year started paying off and that state tournament was just an example of it.”
Patee said the team won the first three games of pool play during the tournament, securing the No. 1 seed. They first faced off against Blackhills, a team which Patee said won the state championship for the 9u division last year.
“Hunter Baxter started pitching for us and then we cycled through pitchers to save arms for the tournament,” he said.
In the game against Castle Rock, the Lumberjacks secured a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning as they faced a “stud pitcher” on the opposing team.
“They brought (the pitcher) in to try to ice the game, and August Schang stole third base and had a guy on third, and then Cameron Patee got a base hit to get August in and tie the ball game, and then we went on to score two more runs,” Patee said. “And then we knocked it out to lock in the number one seed, which was pretty exciting.”
When they played against Kennewick, he said Baxter pitched a complete game, which got the team into the championship game. There, the Lumberjacks scored 14 runs in the first inning, resulting in a win of 14-12, he said.
Patee said Evan Mazza’s plays helped the team secure the win in the championship game.
“Evan Mazza came in in the state championship when things were falling apart,” he said. “We were up 14-12, he came in in the last inning, and he had a big grin on his face and was just the epitome of confidence. He came in and struck out the last two guys to win the state championship.”
The manager hopes to make it even further next year.
“The boys want to get to the World Series, so our goals moving forward are two-fold, but I would say one is we’re not just trying to develop great baseball players,” Patee said. “We are trying to develop men of integrity, and developing leaders. … Second, we want to take that next step and not just win state, but see if we can get a trip to the World Series, which is the next goal on the horizon.”
The team will have tryouts for the new season at 10 a.m. on Aug. 13 at Woodland High School for their 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old teams.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here