Medical Lake AA American Legion baseball coach Kerry Kelly might think he has the cure for the grind of a summer baseball season that involves nightly practice and games on top of that – more baseball.
At least that seemed to be the approach he took during the recently completed Woodbat Classic in which his team didn’t achieve fame, but Kelly insists, they had fun.
Medical Lake finished 0-3-1 in pool play they hosted at Holliday Field, falling to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 13-0, Kitsap 7-6, the Warehouse 5-0 before tying Ferris 14-14 in a wild Independence Day finale.
Medical Lake won their final contest, 8-2 over Sammamish, Wash. in a Saturday game between teams in the tournament who did not advance. Brayden Hale threw a complete game allowing just four hits.
“We had a great time, everybody played,” Kelly said. “We almost got Ferris, we just couldn’t quite pull it off in the bottom of the eighth.” A couple of defensive lapses were the difference.
In the loss to the Warehouse Select team, some local rivalries added some fun to the Friday afternoon game. “We played them pretty good,” Kelly said. “That game I had more of my younger guys; the game was more fun for them, there were some Cheney kids (Harrison King and Cameron Wiseman) on that team.”
“The opposing teams that came in, the Warehouse, Ferris, Kitsap and Saskatoon, (it was) an opportunity to play against some good caliber teams, meet some great people,” Kelly said. “It was just two great days at the baseball field.”
The city of Medical Lake’s lawful use of fireworks was quite a novelty. Kelly said it sounded somewhat like a battle zone with constant pops and explosions. “We all got a chuckle, the fans were just laughing about it,” Kelly said. “It was just going the whole game.”
“The explosions started before the sun went down,” Kelly said. “And I didn’t leave the field until almost midnight and they were still going strong.” It was an interesting atmosphere, but a lot of fun, he said.
Kelly had little to say about the hammering his team took from Saskatoon other than to say the use of wood bats might have played a part in his team’s general lack of offense.
“It’s amazing when you get wooden bats involved and good teams and good pitching and how that really neutralizes extra base hits and some of these offensive stats,” Kelly said.
As had been the case in the 2012 tournament when the Medical Lake roster looked a lot like a Kelly family reunion, his extended family got to both play, and play a part. In the Ferris game, nephew Nathan Kelly went 4 for 5 at the plate with six RBIs.
The 2013 event drew 50 teams and was won by the Calgary Redbirds 13-10 over Mt. Spokane.
Now the job gets to be more serious as Medical Lake finishes the regular season this week. They played a doubleheader at Pullman this past Tuesday, followed by a pair of games Friday at home (5 and 7:30 p.m.) and then a non-league game Sunday at 7 p.m. at Holliday versus Cheney.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.