While looking to add some extra games to their schedule several years back, Foss High School baseball coach Roy Young came up with a novel and great idea to give the summer 17U American Legion team some extra work. The idea was to start a tournament and memorialize coaches and players from past years who are no longer with us who have contributed to Foss baseball.
“Once we got the ball rolling, it took hold real fast with the idea of paying tribute to some great individuals,” said Young, who works with the Legion squad from time to time during the summer.
This year’s tournament lineup was solid, with teams from the host Foss Tugs, Olympic from Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Wilson and Tumwater – with teams comprised of players from both their school’s regular-season squads and a mixture of players from other schools that were not seniors.
This year’s three tournament honorees included Brian McKenna, who Young noted “taught for 33 years in the Tacoma School District and worked with Foss baseball for five years as my C-team coach.” Young added that fellow honoree Jeremy Carter “was a great player for the Falcons several years back and also coached here for a while too,” and that Danny Rupe “helped his brother Doug while he was an assistant for me a few years ago. The kids really liked him, and he was as good a coach as he was a player.”
Rupe was a 2003 All-Narrows League selection behind the plate who was a big reason Wilson won the league title that year for coach Lonnie Slater.
As for the games themselves, what a great weekend it turned out to be for the three-day spectacle. Wilson got off to a slow start by being shut out by White River 3-0 as the Rams had a hard time getting the bats going on July 6. They rebounded on July 7 with a thrilling 6-5 win over Olympia, with Matt Basil scoring the winning run on a close play at the plate on an RBI double by C.J. Patterson. They claimed sixth place in the tournament, falling to Tumwater on July 8 by a score of 6-3.
“We couldn’t come up with the key hits when we needed them in the two losses, but we put up a good fight this weekend,” said Wilson coach Eric Spry. “I liked the way we played defensively and we also got good mound efforts from Cameron Ficca and Eric Stout. We have a lot to look forward to next spring.”
“I thought we played pretty well as a team and we had good efforts from everyone involved,” said Wilson’s Evan Stout. “I had good days at the dish and on the mound too. I stayed patient, which helped my focus in both areas.”
Foss would advance on July 6 when Tumwater failed to show up, but they fell to Olympic by a score of 12-2 in the nightcap. On July 8, with third place on the line, Ryan Phillips went the distance on a five-hitter as the Tugs beat White River by a score of 10-4.
“We all wanted to come out and have some fun. My fastball and my curve worked all day for me,” said Phillips. “The bottom line for me is to help myself and my teammates get better during the course of each game.”
When all was said and done on Sunday afternoon, everyone involved with the tournament had every reason to smile.