BASEBALL: Wilder gets second chance, starts regional play Monday
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Jeff Halstead/for Peninsula Daily News
Wilder's James Grubb bats during the Global Sports Authority state tournament at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds last month.

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The Wilder Baseball senior team's end-of-season barbecue has been postponed, albeit for a good reason.

Wilder has more baseball to play. Specifically, a week's worth of games starting Monday at the Pacific Northwest Senior Babe Ruth regional tournament at Clark College's Vern Kindsfather Field in Vancouver, Wash.

The team thought it's season was finished following a 1-3 performance at the Northern Washington state tournament last weekend at Civic Field, but the area squad received a reprieve.

“The team representing Montana decided on Thursday they couldn't make the tournament,” Wilder Senior manager Mike Politika said.

“So I got a phone call Thursday evening from Bill Peterson, an assistant state commissioner from Babe Ruth, that there was a spot open and would you like to go and play.”

After last weekend's disappointment Politika was in favor of playing some more games.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for the kids to end on a high note,” Politika said.

To gauge his players interest in resuming their season, Politika sent out a text message to his team.

“I got an overwhelmingly positive response to continue our season and give ourselves a chance to play,” Politika said.

“We had an end-of-season barbecue planned for Saturday, but I think they are all happy to postpone that until further notice.

“I was glad to see that everybody was on the same page and wants to go down [to Vancouver], play our hearts out, and hopefully win a few games.”

The team regrouped quickly, according to Politika.

“We practiced Friday, are practicing [Saturday] and heading down Sunday at 9:30 a.m. to make it for the team check-in.” Politika said.

When asked if the entire team would be available, Politika still had some work to do.

“I think all the kids are on board, but Eathen Boyer is in eastern Washington on a family vacation so we are trying to get him back in time,” Politika said.

Wilder will open pool play in the National Division against a team from Gillette, Wyoming, at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

It will then play the South Washington champion, Granite Construction of Camas-Washougal, at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

A game with a team from Idaho follows at 3 p.m. Wednesday before a rest day on Thursday. Wilder will then face the Alberta provincial representative at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

If Wilder advances as one of the top two teams in the five-team division, it will play at either 9:30 a.m. or 12:15 p.m. Saturday with the tourney title game at 5 p.m.

If the team fails to advance, three Wilder players will be selected to participate in a tournament all-star team game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The all-star game is the idea of former Cincinnati Reds closer Randy Myers.

A Vancouver native and Clark College alum, Myers thought it would be a good idea to hold the game to encourage college recruiters and pro scouts to come and see some of the region's top teams and players in a single location on a single day.

Myers, a member of “the Nasty Boys” bullpen crew with Norm Charlton and Rob Dibble on the 1990 World Series-winning Cincinnati Reds, will throw out the opening pitch during the tournament's opening ceremony at 5 p.m. today.

Wilder Senior (21-6) played well in the first game of the state tournament last weekend, extending its winning streak to 10 games after Brett Wright's walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning beat the Spokane Crew 3-2.

It then dropped three straight, a 10-6 loss to Lakeside Recovery, a team that will be at the regional event, an error-filled 3-2 loss to Wilder Junior, followed by a 5-3 loss to Columbia Basin.

“Giving the seniors another opportunity is all that really matters,” Politika said.

“Now we get a couple of more games and the chance to try to make it a good feeling about the season, as opposed to a bad one.”

Politika thinks his squad needs to keep things simple at the regional tournament to get back to the level of play they are capable of producing.

“I just think we should play the game and let it come naturally,” Politika said.

“At times last week we tightened up and played to not make a mistake and not to make something happen both offensively and defensively.

“We need to go out, have fun, and look at this as a second chance.

“That's when we play best, when we play loose and enjoy the game.”

Last modified: July 20. 2014 9:52AM
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