LONGVIEW — Players in white, gray, black, red, orange, blue, and more colors to boot took to the turf at David Story Field on Wednesday, as some of the best senior ballplayers in Lewis, Thurston, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, Grays Harbor, and Pacific Counties converged for the 45th annual Southwest Washington Senior All-Star Game.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Centralia coach Jake LeDuc said. “It’s a good end, to let these guys go out and do their thing one last time. There’s no signs, if you want to steal a bag, go. You’re sitting on 3-0; all season long you’ve been itching to swing at that 3-0 pitch, and now you can get after it. It’s a lot of fun to see these guys one last time and give them a send-off.”
In the end, the “American” team, featuring a host of local players, beat the “National” team — also featuring a host of local players — 11-3.
The teams were just about split randomly by school, instead of organizing big schools vs. little schools or playing north against south. There were a couple of interesting results from that.
As usual, the all-star game format set rivals from the regular season onto the same team. The “American” team coaching staff was a 2A EvCo brain trust of LeDuc, Rochester’s Brad Quarnstrom, and Tumwater’s Lyle Overbay, with Mossyrock’s Darren Kolb representing the smaller schools, while the “Nationals” opening battery was W.F. West’s Hunter Lutman throwing to Tumwater’s Graysen Reveal.
On the flip side, some of the 2As got split up, with Bearcats and T-Birds suiting up for both teams. So in the first inning, 2A EvCo MVP Alex Overbay got to pitch to Reveal, and managed to fool the catcher who had called every pitch he threw this past season to strike him out.
“It’s all fun and games, we’re all trying to have fun,” Overbay said with a smile. “But I don’t think he was expecting the curveball there.”
Then to end the evening, Lutman, who picked up a bat just once this entire spring for W.F. West, borrowed a helmet and stepped into the batter’s box — to face teammate Waylen Land. Land’s first curveball nearly hit Lutman, and Lutman got him back by lining the second up the middle for a single.
“I was really wanting to do that,” Lutman said. “I was watching him all day long, asking when he was going in, and I asked the coaches if I could get an at-bat against him. I went up there and was just swinging as hard as I could.”
In proper all-star game form, no pitcher threw more than an inning, and substitutions were aplenty. After Overbay and Lutman opened the game for their respective teams, Land and Riggs Westlund represented W.F. West on the hill while Tumwater’s Trenton Gaither and Ayden Ramsey also threw, as did Rochester’s Hyde Parrish and Braden Hartley, Adna’s Asher Guerrero, Tenino’s Brody Noonan, and Mossyrock’s Cooper Young and Tim Bowes.
Overbay and Noonan both struck out two batters in their respective frames. At the plate, Overbay had a pair of hits, while Centralia’s Gabe Seymour knocked in a run with an RBI single.
When the final handshake line was done following the nine-inning affair, the coaches and officials picked 10 players to move on to compete at the state senior all-star game. Six local players made it: Lutman, Hartley, Noonan, Overbay, Gaither, and Toledo catcher Geoffrey Glass.
Those six will head over the mountains for the Washington All-State Series, held in Yakima from June 23-25.