Fast start lifts Hazel Dell Metro to win
Host team wins opener at Babe Ruth regional tournament
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
In each of the four times Hazel Dell Metro leadoff hitter Jay Becker reached first base Tuesday, he followed by stealing second as though entitled to the bag.
His aggressiveness was reflective of the Metro players’ game plan: They weren’t going to sit around and wait for a victory at Propstra Stadium — they were going to take it.
The result was HDM downing Calgary 11-1 in pool play at the Babe Ruth Pacific Northwest 15-year-old Regional. Metro, which won Tuesday’s game in five innings, is 1-0 in the tournament and awaits Midland of Puyallup at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“The bottom line — take care of business,” HDM manager Dennis Zyph said. “It’s not like state where you gotta get one game. Here you gotta go out and get a little more.”
Metro wasn’t shy about putting the scoreboard operator to work immediately, tallying its first three runs before Calgary recorded an out. Becker began the early rally with a single, then stole second, then moved to third when Jake Lewis reached first base on an overthrow.
Lewis advanced to second on that same play, then watched starting pitcher Alec Dannat single him and Becker home on the following at-bat. After Dannat stole second as well, Hayden Humphrey pitched in a single that put HDM up 3-0 before Calgary finally retired a batter.
This would be more than enough scoring for a strong pitching team that Zyph asserted will virtually always win if it is able to hit.
Dannat and Seth Rayburn yielded three hits in their combined five innings on the mound. Dannat threw the first three, striking out two and keeping Calgary scoreless, while Rayburn fanned three and allowed one run in the fifth.
Metro led 5-0 heading into the fourth inning before exploding for six runs.
Becker finished 3 for 3 with a walk while Brooks Hanson went 3 for 4. Lewis, Humphrey, and Andrew Haley each added two hits for HDM.
Calgary, which won the Alberta championship, falls to 0-2 in the tournament.
Two teams from each of the two five-team brackets will advance to the semifinals following pool play. The tournament’s winner will go on to the Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown, New York.
Metro reached the World Series last year as 14-year-olds, but that isn’t on its players’ minds right now.
What they’re thinking about is a 6-3 loss to Centralia in the Southern Washington title game two Sundays ago. In other words, despite this convincing win, Zyph doesn’t foresee HDM growing complacent.
“Honestly, these guys are sitting on a loss in the state championship game. It’s on their minds because I remind them every day,” he said. “As long as Centralia is here, these guys will stay fresh.”