West Seattle Little League 11-12 Year-olds win first two rounds of state tournament
By Keven Ruf
An extra-inning drama ended with a West Seattle victory Saturday evening in Vancouver, WA as the All Stars came from behind to defeat a local team 5-4. This they followed with a sold shellacking of their opponent on Sunday to win 13-1.
Last week's hero was once again this week's savior as Dylan Diggdon punched home the winning run to walk off victorious in Saturday’s game.
The game started--and closed--as a closely fought affair, both sides pitching well and with near-flawless defense. The hitters were on their heels but managed a couple runs for each team through the first three innings. That score held through the rest of the regulation game with solid pitching and a frustrating inability to advance base runners.
After six regulation innings, game tied, 2-2.
The game never looked like a lock for either side, as time after time, runners from both squads reached base but were left stranded. The anxiety in the stands was palpable as spectators edged forward on the bleachers, tuned to every pitch.
The 2-2 score held until the 7th when the opposing Camas team struck hard with a deep drive to left center, far over the 225-foot mark. They scored another run before West Seattle relief pitching was able to shut them down.
Faced with a deficit of two in the bottom of the 7th, West Seattle managed to squeeze in two runs, both with two out and with a helping of good luck, fortuitous bounces, and plain old clutch hitting. Henry Ruf, who over the course of the game played two positions the outfield and two in the infield, blooped a single into right to drive in the tying run. That was enough to get West Seattle back from the brink and ready to rally as the game headed deep into overtime.
The game entered the 8th, and Camas had a runner on first and another followed, both on walks. With one down, and danger only 60 feet from home, West Seattle pitcher Chris Frost was finally able to quell the threat and retire the side.
In the bottom of the frame the Camas pitchers dueled hard, but relented twice, allowing two base runners aboard. While managing two outs, he allowed two to reach, and to the plate strode Dylan Diggdon. The players and spectators recalled the most recent game at which the West Seattle 11-12 All Star had assembled. That game was won on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 6th at Bar S Field by none other than the free-swinging, lanky Dylan Diggdon.
All hoped for but none expected a repeat performance, but the unflappable red-haired, freckled Dylan Diggdon pulled through with yet another jaw-dropping dramatic finish.
Dylan's at-bat was anything but victory assured. The count was worked to 2-and-2. He fouled off a couple close pitches, but finally, with calm assurance, he singled solidly to left center, bringing in the winning run from third.
The liner Dylan hit, driving in the winning run in the bottom of the 8th, in a hard-fought game, marks West Seattle's continued advancement in this championship season.
West Seattle played again Sunday but this time it was never close. Two homeruns, one from Kenji Suzuki and another by Kai Osaka sealed the deal along with dominating pitching by Henry Mensch. The victim this time was Gig Harbor.
Next up is Federal Way on Tuesday, a team West Seattle has faced in practice games before the tournament began.
The tournament, which attracts teams from Little League Districts all over the State, continues through the week. The winning team from Vancouver goes on to a regional tournament in San Bernardino, CA to play against other state champions, all aimed at making the trip to Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series.