West Seattle minors hammer Seattle Central 12 - 1
By Ed Shepherd
Thank you's were in order after the West Seattle Nationals Minors Little League team beat Seattle Central, 12-1, in a 10-run rule shortened game at Normandy Park City Hall Park Sunday, a game which moved these 9-10 year old boys into the Tournament of Champions championship game Monday.
"You guys played excellent baseball, thank you, thank you, thank you, for showing up to play today," said manager Isaiah Brent after this semifinal win, all smiles, tipping the bills of players' baseball caps as he thanked them.
This correlation of that comment and commendation from Brent came following an opening round game played the day before in which the Nationals won but these 9-10 year old players were not playing up to par, having errors on defense, with how it had won its regular season and then End Of Season tournament prior to TOC.
In this game there were no defensive lapses starting out the game early on for the Nationals, which did happen against Southwest the game before, and, again, the offense was strong starting out. Pitching, too, by Felix Schlede, was helped out of a jam early, with good defense by catcher Milo Sorensen, before Schlede really got into a pitching groove after a couple walks in that first inning.
So, in the top of the first inning for the Nationals, Maddox Brent tripled and James Triol hit him in to make it 1-0. Schlede hit in Triol for a 2-0 lead, and Earls' RBI single hit in Schlede to make it 3-0. An Alex Zanolli single made it 4-0.
The bottom of the first Schlede struck out the first batter before experiencing control problems, a bit, allowing two runners to walk. Runners were at second and third base, after stealing, and that put this game into a situation for Seattle Central to score runs. On a wild pitch, the ball got past Nationals catcher Milo Sorensen and the base runner on third took off to steal home.
Sorensen, however, threw off his catcher's mask and ran back to the backstop area and grabbed the ball and got back to the plate in time to tag the runner, ending the inning.
"Milo made a great play," said manager Brent. "His hustle is unparalleled. I think the kid running for home was surprised by how quickly Milo got back to that ball."
Schlede liked his catcher's work as well.
"I was kind of worried that they were going to score," said Schlede. "The tag got us out of the inning."
The Nationals backed up Schlede well, scoring more runs in the top of the second inning as Dimitri Lawrence drew a walk before Cashen Tomlinson's single looping to right field put runners at first and second base. Gavin Lawrence's single loaded the bases. Milo Kelly walked and that brought in a run. And, Sorensen helped Schlede with his bat, too, a 2-RBI double that made it 7-0. Whorton's sacrifice jumped the score to 8-0 and Schlede's 2-run knock made it 10-0 after the second inning.
Schlede continued his shutout innings thrown in the second and third as his team scored another couple runs in their third.
Schlede settling down was something he learned from understanding things better as the game went on, regarding the hitters on the other team coming to bat.
"I was confident and I knew their lineup," said Schlede, who pitched through the order a second and third time, with only one run scoring against him the whole game.
The run for Seattle Central came with the Nationals already ahead, 12-0.
It came on a leadoff triple that was followed by a single.
But the Nationals looked sharp on that play, too, despite the three-bagger.
"When he hit it to right field, the ball got by me," said Tomlinson. "But I got it and hit my cut-off man and on the relay the runner went to third instead of home."
After the game, the Nationals' team mom, Danyell Tomlinson, thanked manager Brent for his efforts and time coaching these National players, presenting him with a package, gift-wrapped, and, a baseball signed by all the players.
After opening it and displaying a nice Seahawks hoodie, manager Brent spoke of why this team could be so successful this season.
"Thank you, everyone, and I couldn't do it without my coaches, Mike (Triol) and Noel (Whorton), my ying and my yang."
Manager Brent continued to thank all the parents and everyone else for what they've done this season to make it what it is.
And, it's not done yet. Still, the championship of TOC is to be played at 6 p.m. Monday.
"Felix has been amazing all year," said manager Brent. "I knew I could give him the baseball and he would shut them down. He throws the fastest fastball in the league. I know we have a tough game ahead of us in the championship and getting 75 pitches from Felix means I have all my pitchers for the championship. That is huge. Everything's worked out perfectly. I am excited to see my son start against a really good team in the championship."