The Camas-Washougal Babe Ruth 15-and-under all-star baseball team enjoyed a weeklong frenzy of tough competition from teams as far away as Alberta, Canada, last week and never had to leave its home field.
Louis Bloch Park hosted the Babe Ruth Pacific Northwest Championship Series during the busiest summer week of the year in Camas and Washougal. From Monday, July 22, to Saturday, July 27, teams from five states and Canada competed in downtown Camas.
“Camas is a great, unique spot, and it’s great for people from other parts of the country to get to come here and see what we have going on in Camas,” said Dale Rule, a spectator and Camas High School ninth-grade football coach.
With Camas Days in full swing just a few blocks from the park, hundreds of spectators enjoyed the festivities in between games. More than 20,000 motocross fans were in town for the Washougal Nationals, adding to the intense local sports traffic.
“It’s amazing,” said Davetta Price, a volunteer and Babe Ruth board member who ran the Sweet Spot Cafe concession stand at the park. “It’s so great to meet people from Alberta, Canada, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Plus we’ve got four Washington teams and two Oregon teams.”
Local All-Stars make a run
Camas-Washougal earned a third-place trophy after winning three games at Louis Bloch Park, a field named after the former chairman of the Crown Zellerbach Corporation that used to own the town’s paper mill.
Camas-Washougal got off to a nice start with a 6-3 win on Tuesday against Portland. Starting pitcher Jack Davy got the opening-round win.
However, the next night Camas-Washougal faced a red-hot group of players from Glacier, Montana, who scored three runs in the first inning. Camas-Washougal pitcher Trey Briggs kept his composure, but Glacier’s big lead was too much to overcome, and the Montana team went on to post a 5-1 win.
“I just told the kids that tournaments are not won on Wednesdays, they are won on Saturdays, so keep your heads up because we will make it to Saturday,” Camas-Washougal coach John Blair said.
Camas-Washougal won its next two games and faced Moses Lake early Saturday for a chance to play in the championship game later that evening. Going into the sixth inning, Camas-Washougal had a commanding 4-1 lead but had trouble fielding a few balls and Moses Lake scored four unearned runs to beat Camas-Washougal 5-4.
“Our kids played great,” Blair said. “I told them that sometimes baseball can be crazy, but I know they enjoyed the experience, and all 15 all-stars on the team played a role and contributed.”
Seventy-nine years after the city of Camas built Louis Bloch Park, baseball players and their fans keep coming.