West Seattle Little League 9-10's outslug National for title
By Tim Clinton
West Seattle won a wild one to settle the issue in one championship game at the age 9-10 District 7 Little League all-star tournament Saturday.
The West Siders, who came into the final as the double-elimination tournament's only undefeated team, put South Highline National away by an 11-8 score at their home field at the Bar-S complex above Alki Point.
West Seattle advances into the state tournament at Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor, opening with a bye for Saturday before playing the District 3 vs. District 8 winner at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
West Seattle also received a bye to open this past week's tournament and zipped through to the championship with a 19-6 win over Renton and a 9-8 win over South Highline National in the winner's bracket final Wednesday.
"We're pretty even," said West Seattle manager Steve Joseph of his team and South Highline National, which edged Pac West, 2-1, in Friday's loser's bracket final to reach championship play.
Joseph will not make the trip to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island because of his mother's battle with an illness.
"We're going to see her," he said. "We planned that before this tournament. At least we ended on a high note."
Preparing for the District 7 tournament was not easy for Joseph and coaches Andy Rasmussen and Stephen Sadis.
"I only get these kids for two weeks because it's all-stars," Joseph said. "So we have to get them together real fast. We did two-a-days and everything else. It's extremely difficult."
South Highline National of Normandy Park and Des Moines scored first in Saturday's championship as Tristen Trujillo walked and came around on an error, a wild pitch and a grounder by Aiden McGehee in the top of the first.
But West Seattle rallied for six runs in the second to take a 6-1 lead it never relinquished.
Spencer Burgess and Julian Rodriguez ignited the rally with back-to-back doubles for one run. The rest of the rally included walks to Reece McAllister and Jaden Sadis, a hit by pitch to Alex Fleming, two wild pitches, an error, an RBI grounder by J.P. Dufour and an RBI single by Rasmussen.
National got back in it with four runs in the third to make it 6-5.
Tyler Kephart hit into an error with two out, then Simon Adams and Joshua Saechao hit back-to-back singles. Parker Stonesifer and Jack McGrath followed with back-to-back doubles.
West Seattle bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the third with the help of singles by Rodriguez and Rasmussen.
National closed the gap back to 8-6 with a run in the top of the fourth as Tate Parker hit an infield single, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a fielder's choice grounder.
The West Siders played add-on with three in the bottom of the fourth. Sadis and Dylan Mastroianni singled to start it off and Peter Nelson, Jasper Mors, McAllister and Fleming all walked.
Colin Olmstead singled ahead of a Justin Stetson walk, an RBI single by Cooke and an RBI grounder by Parker for two SHN runs in the fifth to make it 10-8, then West Seattle scored one last insurance run in the bottom of the inning. Sadis and Mastroianni singled in the rally.
West Seattle then held on for the win in the top of the sixth, keeping National scoreless.
Players for the victorious West Seattle squad include Nate Rasmussen, Dylan Mastroianni, Sam Pare, Alex Fleming, Jaden Sadis, Julian Rodriguez, Peter Nelson, Reece McAllister, Spencer Burgess, Jasper Mors, Bowie Hichens and Jean-Pierre Dufour.
Todd Kephardt managed the South Highline National team and the coaches were Pat Adams and Clint Adams.
Players included Simon Adams, Greger Covich, Ethan Cooke, Tyler Kephart, George Klewin, Aidan McGehee, Jonathon McGrath, Colin Olmstead, Tate Parker, Joshua Saechao, Parker Stonesifer and Tristen Trujillo.