ILWACO - The Ilwaco Babe Ruth 14-15 year old team finished their season in second place among seven squads in the Astoria League with an 11-6 record. Coach Butch Smith said, "The team made a great deal of improvement. Last season they were 3-12." Many of the players gained experience during the high school junior varsity and varsity campaign, as well.
The team was led by Mooch Smith as catcher and Nick Leonard as pitcher and shortstop. Smith hit .500 to lead the league in average, had a slugging percentage of .640 and topped the team with 27 runs batted in. Leonard hit the ball at a .475 clip and won five games on the mound with a 2.47 earned run average. Both were named to the first team on the 15 year old All-star squad, a first for Peninsula players.
Jared Schaak played first base and smoked the ball at a .400 rate, Travis Ostgaard manned second base and pitched, hitting .341, and Mike Huitt played left field while compiling an on base percentage of .350. Bobby Crislip rounded out the 15 year old contingent as an outfielder and first baseman.
Alex Martin and Paul Blaylock each made the 14-year old all-star team. Martin played excellent defense in center field according to Coach Smith and hit .395 while Blaylock had an on base percentage of .466. He played third base and the outfield.
Kyle Herzog pitched and played second base. He hit .378 and had a 3-1 record with a 3.42 ERA. Anthony Wirkkala also saw mound action, going 2-1 with a 2.72 ERA, and played well at third base. C.J. Hawkinson played right field and had one of the most positive attitudes on the team according to the coach.
Wayne Leonard assisted Coach Smith, as he has done since this group of athletes began as T-ball players. "I am confident many of these guys will contribute to the high school varsity team next season. It's been a pleasure working with them all these years," Smith praised.
He had special thanks for the parents who helped with concessions and field maintenance during the successful season.