It was a very good summer for baseball fans in Kootenai County.
From the start of the American Legion baseball season to the final games of the season held over the weekend with the Post Falls Majors team in San Bernardino, Calif., the last three months haven't lacked for excitement on the diamond.
THERE WAS a buzz from Post Falls all the way to Shoshone County last week as the Post Falls team advanced through pool play in the Little League Northwest Regional tournament with a 3-1 record.
That buzz increased when Post Falls beat a squad from Billings, Mont., 3-2 to advance to the championship game last Saturday against Gresham, Ore.
Unable to score a run in the top of the first inning, Post Falls could not gain the momentum it had all week in the championship game, falling 8-4.
While they came up short of reaching Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series, they accomplished a lot in just a short amount of time.
Between travel baseball, the team played over 50 games - which is comparable to a full season for a lot of teams in the area.
Not only that, they traveled to compete with the best of the best in Washington, Oregon and Montana before winning a best-of 3 series against a team from Boise to advance.
In the case of Saturday's game, a bad start ended up costing the team a chance at continuing their season this weekend.
But for as well as they played and for as long, this could only be a sign of things to come in the near future.
ALONG WITH the success of the Post Falls team, both the Coeur d'Alene and Prairie class AA Legion teams advanced to the state tournament.
For Coeur d'Alene, which went 1-2 at the state tournament, the Lums finished the season 43-11.
The team, made up of several players from a regional tournament qualifier as members of the "A" Loggers program last year, could be tough again next season.
Prairie, which finished 25-22, advanced to state for the second straight year by beating Lewis-Clark in the district tournament at McEuen Field.
Next summer will be a little different, with Prairie losing most of its roster and Coeur d’Alene scheduled to play in a new home at Ramsey Park, but the future appears bright for both teams.
GRANTED THE baseball season didn’t get off to the best start, with plenty of rainouts and cancellations during the high school sports season, but by the time the season had concluded, there were plenty of reasons to get out to the ballpark this year.
After watching teams celebrate a great amount of success, it really makes me wonder just how they will follow it up next year.
The phrase “wait for next year” is thrown out a lot when it comes to a team on the brink of success.
Right now — I can’t wait.
Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org