Here are the West Seattle Little League All Stars:
Back row: Manager Vinnie Sposari, Alex Coats, Merle Rowan-Kennedy, John Roach, Cody Jones, Geoffrey Wukelic, Larry Jensen, Buick MacNamara, Coach John Coats. Front row: Jayme Kelly, Vinnie Sposari, Jack Larsen, Joey Werlech, DJ Kemp. Photo by Bill Larsen
West Seattle splits at state Seniors tournament
By Tim Clinton
A split left West Seattle shy of its championship goal at the Washington State Senior Little League age 14-15 baseball tournament held at Sherman Anderson Field in Mount Vernon.
The Westsiders -- who won the District 7 tournament the week before to qualify -- opened the tournament on the right foot, however, by blanking the Redmond/Bellevue Thunderbirds team, 5-0, on Monday, July 16.
West Seattle made a return trip to Mount Vernon the next day, but this time were knocked into the loser's bracket by Richmond by a narrow 5-3 score.
The Westsiders recovered to score a 5-1 victory over South Kitsap Western on Wednesday, before playing the same Redmond/Bellevue Thunderbirds squad they defeated in the opener and losing this time in a tight 2-0 ballgame.
West Seattle manager Vinnie Sposari had hoped pitching would carry his team through the tournament, and it did result in one shutout win and one game where they allowed only one run.
"This team has great pitching, and that's the key," Sposari said going into the tournament.
Unlike a trip to state two years ago in Spokane, the team also stayed home during the tournament and commuted to tournament games in hopes home cooking and sleeping in their own beds would pay off in a championship outcome. But the Redmond/Bellevue Thunderbirds team came from even closer.
The eventual winner of the Seniors state tournament will represent the state of Washington at the Western Regional tournament in Ontario, Calif.
West Seattle did come out of the loser's bracket to the District 7 tournament after losing its opener to South Highline National, 3-2.
One run victories instead of one run losses was the story from there.
West Seattle beat Renton, 4-3, and slipped past South Highline, 4-3, in eight innings in the provisional championship game. West Seattle needed another win over National to take the title and came through with a 3-2 victory on a run in the bottom of the seventh and final inning.
But more teams in the state tournament meant West Seattle had to win five straight to capture the title after its loss to Richmond in the second game.
John Coats and Fred Jensen served as coaches for Sposari on the West Seattle team, and players were Alexander Coats, Cody Jones, Lawrence Jensen, Brian J. Kelly, Daniel J. Kemp, Jack Larsen, Buick MacNamara, Vincent Sposari, John Roach, Merle Rowan-Kennedy, Joseph Werlech and Geoffrey Wukelich.