West Seattle Majors fall to Pac West
By Ed Shepherd
Everything started out super for West Seattle's Cubs in Little League Majors Tournament Of Champions action Saturday.
The first two innings batters hit the ball, and runners rounded the bases on steals and hits.
But that was the beginning of the end, as it turned out.
What happened next, in Pac West's come-from-behind, walk-off, 7-6 win at Normandy Park City Hall?
"We didn't score again," said Jon Muench, coach for the Cubs, whose son was the winning pitcher in the End Of Season tourney championship a week prior to this TOC opening round game and had a lot to do with the runs happening in this one, too.
So, out of the gate, West Seattle broke to a 2-0 lead, as, in the top of the first inning, Henry Muench singled, stole second, moved to third on next-up, Isaac Patchen's single. Then Muench stole home. Next, Patchen stole home and that provided the 2-0 start for the Cubs.
After Patchen struck out the Pac West side of Pirates, while a couple singles led to one run to make it a 2-1 ballgame, the Cubs came up again in the top of two and drew more fire from its offense, as Alex Fleming walked and Jarek Woodward doubled a shot over the center fielder's head to lead things off before Muench cracked an RBI-double to make it a 3-1 score favoring the Cubs. Then Woodward stole third, and home again, and it was 4-1 Cubs. Muench stole home, again, to make it 5-1. Then Patchen drew a walk, Spencer Burgess singled and Patchen stole second, third and home to make it 6-1.
But Pac West, in the start of its bottom of the third inning, would mount a comeback with two outs.
After a runner reached base after striking out but the ball getting past the catcher on the third strike, Jeremiah Judd alertly ran to first base safely. That would turn out to be huge as the next batter up, Misa Marin, would launch the ball over the right-center outfield fence for a big home run cutting West Seattle's lead to 6-3.
In the bottom of the fourth, West Seattle didn't answer for any scores and Pac West chipped off the lead some more, with a runner, first reaching on a double error --fielding and throwing.
Then, making that defensive lapse come back to haunt them, West Seattle watched Pac West score another on a Christian Herra RBI triple that made it 6-4.
Muench was quizzing his players inning after inning after the early six runs scored by West Seattle -- some important questions.
"I reminded them every half inning if they thought we would win with only six runs," said Muench. "They knew my answer, that we probably would not. And it happened."
It did happen, in dramatic fashion, too, as, Pac West, in the bottom of five, scored another, as Judd hit a solo home run over the left field fence to make it 6-5, Cubs.
After no answer to that, it was West Seattle's turn to hold them.
After a nice opening play by Patchen of a hot grounder to shortstop, for an out to first base, the next batter, Riess Magee, doubled between shortstop and third base. Making matters worse the ball got under the glove of the left fielder and to the fence so Magee ended up on third base.
Still, ahead by a run, West Seattle watched that lead go away with an RBI single from Bradley Anderson that tied it, 6-6.
And then the bottom of sixth, walk-off RBI single by Michael Snyder.
"I am proud of them" said Muench. "After they get over the short-term reaction to it, I know everyone of them will feel good about how the season played out."
West Seattle players are: Alex Fleming, Dylan Pool, Emilio Suarez, Henry Muench, Isaac Patchen, Jarek Woodward, Jasper Mors, Lucas Fredricks, Nikolas Fotopoulos, Owen Ruf, Sam Miller and Spencer Burgess.