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Rays raise game to win playoff

Great pitching, hitting and defense is usually a good recipe for success in baseball.
The Trail Rays completed a superb season by defeating Castlegar at Butler Park Wednesday night to take the Jr. Babe Ruth title. From back row left: coach Mike Barta

Great pitching, hitting and defense is usually a good recipe for success in baseball.

For the Trail Rays, those fundamentals won them the Jr. Babe Ruth League championship at Butler Park, Wednesday.

The Rays were less than gracious hosts as they battered Castlegar 11-0 in the final.

Castlegar finished fourth in the standings but won a close 4-3 decision over second place Trail Yankess to get to the championship game.

The Rays dominated the regular season losing only twice and continued their good play into the playoffs.

“We had an awesome season,” said co-coach Kirk Blank. “ The kids have played really hard and they’ve learned lots, and came every day to the park ready to play.”

But things did not look good for the Rays at the beginning of Wednesday’s game.

Rays pitcher Sean Barta got into trouble almost immediately giving up a walk, a double and another walk to load the bases.

“I tried to take them out right away, try to strike everyone out and do it myself,” said Barta.

“I soon found the team was good behind me. I started throwing strikes, calmed down and we just rolled from there.”

The double would be the only hit for the Castlegar squad, as Barta cruised the rest of the way mixing curveball, fastball, change up and slider in a complete game one hitter and striking out six in the victory.

The hard throwing right-hander also added a solo home run in the second to help his cause.

The game was close until the fourth inning; with the Rays leading 3-0, the Castlegar pitcher gave up a walk then a double to Joseph Ferraro to set up a two-run home run by shortstop Josh Blank to break it open.

And when Barta wasn’t mowing them down, his defense came up with big plays as third baseman Tyler Simpson snagged a screaming line-drive down the line and Joseph Ferraro made a nice over-the-shoulder catch to end the game.

“We had a pretty good nucleus, good pitching that became great pitching . . . we got decent hitting with our core and the boys played good “D” - when you get that you’re going to win a majority of your games,” said the Rays co-coach Mike Barta.

Jim Bailey

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