08 August 2011

Waipahu Marauders Win Regional Legion Baseball Championship


The Scarlets or Royals have not been this close to a National Legion Tournament since the days of Dave McNally around forty years ago. There was only one team standing in the way of a trip to Shelby NC and that was Waipahu, Hawaii and their tournament MVP Kawika Pruett, good hitting first baseman and their #1 pitcher. He shut out the Scarlets today, 7-0, scattering 4 hits, and helped his cause by belting a grand-slam home run off Joe Barta. At the ceremony they said he allowed only 6 hits in 14 innings, which qualifies for a dominant pitcher in my book.


I asked yesterday if the Scarlets had some pitchers to take on these guys from Hawaii. They did, at least for one game, but they had no hitters to speak of except Ty Gilmore. Six or 7 runs is a reasonable pitcher's good job in Legion baseball. The batters are expected to get that many and a few more. They reverted to the high fly ball to centerfield boredom which nearly lost the opening game, and nearly lost the game with the Royals, except for a couple of high flies that were long enough to be home runs by Tolstedt and Gilmore.


The regional tournament will be in Billings next year as well. It will be interesting to see if the Scarlets can scare up enough reasonable competition in the regular season to hone their skills: in batting against good pitchers; and in bunting and base-running when needed, i.e. close low-run games. According to the souvenir scorebook they will have 11 players graduating, though how many of those are still eligible is not clear from the data in the book.

Talking about next year reminds me that it seemed like the Scarlets were a little short-handed at the end of the season, and probably other teams as well. I thought the usual number was 18. I understand the need for taking advantage of any football scholarships on offer but I would think that some judicious compromise at the coach level could work these problems out before they become critical. I can't believe that a few days missing calisthenics in early August is going to make that much of a difference, even if you are going to Georgia Tech or Nebraska.

If worse comes to worst you could always be red-shirted and get some of your basic studies in before you start knocking heads against better players than you've seen before. It seems to me that if worser comes to the worst you could choose your players at the beginning of the season depending on who is available at the end of the season. Just some bargaining chips in case they are necessary.

The young men from Hawaii should be fun to watch at the Legion World Series in North Carolina. I wouldn't be surprised if they go all the way.

[Update:]  17 Aug 2011: I didn't see anything in the Gazette on the Legion World Series held in Shelby NC the following week. The news gathered from the Gaston Gazette had Brooklawn NJ beating Waipahu, Hawaii 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth in the opening round. Most of the game was pitched by Chevas Numata, the big guy who won the first game against the Scarlets here in the Regional. Other opening day games included Eden Prairie, the eventual winner of the World Series, losing big to Midland MI; Tupelo MS topping Las Vegas NV 6-3; and Gaffney SC beating Bedford NH 12-1. Waipahu lost badly the following day with Sumi Pruett, the big guy who handled the Scarlets with ease in the final of the Regional here in Billings doing the pitching, and thus went home quickly, sadder but wiser I'm sure. Through the usual twists and turns of a double elimination tournament Eden Prairie and Tupelo, each with a loss,  faced off in the championship game and Eden Prairie won 5-4. Wait 'til next year when we hope the Scarlets and Royals will be hosting at the State tournament and representing the Montana state champs, just like this year.

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