The Bayview Whitecaps came home Monday with the Idaho state championship for 15-and-under Babe Ruth baseball.
The playoffs, held in Boise last weekend, ended a fairy-tale season. The team, not realizing the rules had changed in the Panhandle League Babe Ruth division, learned after two games that the league was only going to send an all-star team to state. The league wanted Bayview to donate two players to that goal, but the players and coaches voted not to do that.
The players and coaches actually come from Spirit Lake, Rathdrum, Athol and Bayview, but considering the sponsorship and Bayview’s centennial, the group chose Bayview as their home base. A problem cropped up as Timberlake High School ball fields were not available. Fortunately, the Whitecaps were able to practice at Lakeland High School, using the indoor practice facility during inclement weather.
Without a league schedule, the team played as an independent. The Whitecaps played some teams that were in the 18-and-under category just to meet the required games, and they won some of those games.
Before they were removed from Panhandle schedules, the Whitecaps defeated Bonners Ferry 21-0 and Les Schwab of Sandpoint 29-0. The team finished first in the Kalispell Invitational.
As Idaho state champs, the team advances to the Northwest regional playoffs in Klamath Falls, Ore., This tournament features teams from Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Montana. The winner of this playoff goes to Arkansas for the national tournament.
League president Dean Jordan said, “Are we proud of our kids? You betcha.”
Coach Kim Rogstad pointed out he coached another local product in Babe Ruth baseball, Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Bobbie Jenks. Only one problem remains: How to finance the remainder of the tournament. Many donors in Bayview have given to the cause, including the lead sponsor, the Bayview Chamber of Commerce. The team needs more funds. The boys will spend a week in Klamath Falls, and if they win there, even longer in Arkansas. The Bayview Chamber is handling donations for the group.
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