TRACK AND FIELD
TRACK AND FIELD
NWMT 'A' LINKS
12U Polson All-Stars missed qualifying for final round
July 31, 2014Northwest Montana A Conference
12U Polson All-Stars almost qualify for final round at NW Regionals
by John Heglie
The Montana state champion 12U Polson All-Stars just missed out on competing for hardware in the championship bracket at the Pacific Northwest Cal Ripken Major-60 12U Baseball Regional (24-26 July 2014) at the Kidsports Complex in Kalispell (MT) this past Saturday. The teams in attendance at the regional (5 from MT, 2 from WA, 1 each from OR, ID and Calgary, Alberta) were divided up between American League and National League contenders, with Polson assigned to the National League. On Thursday they tangled with and got tripped up by eventual regional champion Port Angeles (WA), who pummeled Polson pitching 26-1. One bright spot in that game was a key hit by Xavier Fisher that he stretched for an extra base and eventually came home to score the only Polson run. The All Stars recovered nicely in their subsequent game, dispatching Havre 8-1 to even their tournament record at 1-1 after the first day of competition. Gabe Mergenthaler was a beast in the box, batting a perfect 4-4 that included a double. Nate Plant, Wyatt Goode and Fisher all had two hits apiece, with Plant tagging a double and Fisher ending up on second base after his first at-bat. Joey Renault and Dylan Wisniewski pitched 3 solid innings each with Renault also hitting a double at the plate. Nate Plant sparkled at the back of the diamond when he made a defensive gem of a catch diving after a foul ball behind the plate to get the out.
On Friday, the 12U Polson All Stars eeked out a narrow 7-6 nailbiter over the team from Calgary (Alberta) when they rallied from a four run deficit in the bottom of the sixth. At the defensive end of the spectrum, Joey Renault pitched a trio of scoreless innings from the mound. Catcher Nate Plant threw out a player attempting to steal second base, while centerfielder Lincoln Slonaker threw out a pair of players prospecting for a pilfer when they tried to stretch solid singles into doubles. Offensively, Fisher was swinging the stick like a bona fide member of the X-Men, going 3-4 with a double. Goode would stake Polson to an early lead when he launched a moonshot of a dinger as part of his 2-3 performance. Mergenthaler was 2-4, crossing the plate to score the go ahead run. Elliot Morigeau, Nate Plant, Wisniewski, Renault and Slonaker also stroked singles successfully.
In their final game against Caldwell (ID), Renault threw three scoreless as both teams deadlocked 0-0 through four innings. Unfortunately, Polson would then come out on the short end of a 6-2 score when the Idaho team went up by half a dozen and Polson could only answer with a pair. Nate Plant went 2-3 at the plate, Morigeau clobbered a double and both Fisher as well as Mergenthaler stroked singles.
The loss evened Polson’s pool play record at 2-2 in the National League. Since only the top two teams from each division would qualify to participate in the regional championship bracket, a 3rd place finish behind Port Angeles and Caldwell locked Polson out of contention for hardware. Both National League leaders would advance to face one another for the championship, Port Angeles emerging with the NW Regional crown. One is left to speculate as to whether Polson might have qualified for the championship round had a different configuration of teams taken place. But irrespective of the outcome, the team played awesome defense in the estimation of the coaches, which bodes well for future teams each player will lend their accumulating skills. Wrapping up the Regional performance for Polson, shortstop Xavier Fisher hit safely in all four games, batting a combined 7-13 for a .538 average from the leadoff spot. Nate Plant was close behind with a .500 average, hitting 5-10 and scoring a quartet of runs
The author is indebted to the Cal Ripken 12U Polson All-Star coaching staff for their input. Space did not permit inclusion of this article with the current weekly paper. It is provided here for those who may be interested.
A summary of the regional tournament entitled “Polson 12U reach regionals” by 12U managing coach Pete Plant is featured in print with the Lake County Leader (31 July 2014) B3 along with accompanying photograph of the team state championship fire truck ride.
Scores and standings can be viewed at the following website:
< http://www.tourneymachine.com/Public/Results/Division.aspx?IDTournament=h201406221815315420aae8653431f4a&IDDivision=h201406221816579088e44090e753d40 >