West Seattle 9-10's make it to the final with big win
By Ed Shepherd
Westside! Westside! Westside!
Sounds like a fireworks celebration, or, a rally into war even, but it's not. It's a cheer that West Seattle does for its games so it's 9 and 10 year olds get pumped as was the case in a 13-3 win over South Highline National in the Little League All Stars 9-10 District 7 Tournament at Pac West Fields Friday.
The win over South Highline National propels West Seattle into the championship game Saturday at 10 a.m., where they face a familiar foe, Seattle Central, which knocked West Seattle into the loser's bracket last Sunday, 12-5, in its opener of All Stars.
"Playing Seattle Central is the best case scenario," said Isaiah Brent, West Seattle's manager. "Our kids know what that team can do to them if they don't come ready to play."
Brent was talking to his players right after the win over National.
"What's better than one game," he loudly asked his players.
"Two," they shouted.
The sequence repeated two times, and, indeed, West Seattle, having come through the loser's bracket, is the team that must beat Seattle Central two times Saturday in order to go on to the state tournament representing District 7, happening around July 10.
"Westside, Westside, Westside," the players shouted in rhythmic cadence a few times during Friday's game.
"It makes us fired up," said Jack Peterson, who provided good offense for West Seattle early on in this game.
"It helps us be more confident, gets the rage higher. It makes sure that we stop every ball and hit the ball."
In the game against National, big-run production happened again for West Seattle, as they didn't score 20 runs again like they did the last two games against Renton and Rainier, but they did end this game via the 10-run rule after the fifth inning was completed, with the sixth inning not played.
In the first inning, West Seattle scored four runs on three hits as leadoff hitter Nolan Whorton singled, lacing the ball between second and first base. Maddox Brent singled to left field, so two runners on base. Will Godwin hit the ball hard, but right to the National shortstop who went to throw the ball to third base for the force out but the third baseman was not on the bag. So all three runners were safe.
Matt Accaregui, then, came up in the first and did a nice bit of hitting, getting out on a pop fly but that was OK Accaregui knew. "OK" because he was still doing a good thing, getting the run in by his sacrifice, as Whorton tagged up on third and scored.
"I was just trying to get a base hit and I thought if I hit the ball into the outfield Nolan would be gone," said Accaregui.
Gone to home plate to score was Whorton on that nice situational hitting by Accaregui. Then Jaxton Helmstetler hit it hard to center field and Brent scored to make it 2-0. Next, Jack Peterson came to the plate for the Westside team and he knew what to do with the ball with a runner on base.
"I scooted up in the batter's box and I waited for the pitch and I hit it into the gap between shortstop and second," said Accaregui.
That scored two RBI for Accaregui and gave West Seattle a momentous 4-0 lead."
Manager Brent liked the start of the team in this game, as the four runs scored by his players was a first in the All Stars tourney.
"In the first, we did a lot," said Brent. "We put up four that inning. That was the best offensive first inning to start a game for us in this tournament."
After that good blast of offense from West Seattle in the first came South Highline National rallying for a run on a couple singles to make it a 4-1 West Seattle lead.
West Seattle kept firing on offense, shouting, "West side. West side. West side." altogether in the dugout as Brent singled, Godwin drew a walk and Helmstetler's RBI sacrifice extended the lead to 5-1.
The cheer would come again in the third inning after having watched National benefit from a couple walks followed by a RBI sacrifice, cutting West Seattle's lead to 5-2.
So, in the West Seattle third, Felix Schlede singled and Whorton singled Schlede home to make it 6-2.
Godwin singled to shallow right field to make it 7-2 and Accaregui singled, too, adding another RBI to his day, and it was 8-2.
And, after National scored a run in it's bottom of the third to make the score 8-3, West Seattle added to its runs and what would be 12 hits for the game, with a crushing burst in the top of the fifth.
Accaregui and Jack Peterson and Jack Leers all drew walks to load the bases.
Then, a walk to Felix Schlede forced in Accaregui to change the score to 9-3.
"Let's get fired up, we are fired up," the dugout yelled.
Then, Triol, who pitched super in this game, hit a 2-RBI double, a hot grounder that zipped through the third base-shortstop hole before having enough pace to get by the left fielder, too.
Milo Sorensen then hit a 2-RBI triple and that made it 13-3.
Triol threw 17 pitches versus Rainier a day earlier so he could have been tired going out there to throw. But he did it, regardless.
He thought a lot of National's hitters who hit the ball well in the tournament, having beat Pac West, 11-10, and Renton, 27-2, before being up on Seattle Central, 10-4, going into the sixth inning where SC scored seven runs and won it, 11-10.
"I thought every single one of them could hit, but tried to make pitches low in the strike zone so they couldn't get lots of shots," said Triol.
And, with the sun beating down on him on the Fourth of July, Triol forgot about his arm and just did what manager Brent needed him to do in this game for the team to advance to the championship.
"I was a bit tired pitching all those pitches," said Triol, who threw 73 pitches against National. "Isaiah was thinking this could get us through to the championship game and through this team that beat us in TOC."
TOC is the "Tournament Of Champions," and South Highline National beat West Seattle in it, which was not All Stars but where each charter's first place team from the regular season play each other in a tourney.
Brent admitted he really wanted this one.
"That was a nice win," he said. "National had the same coach here in All Stars as TOC, and, he had, at least, five of the same players from his TOC team on his All Stars team, like my All Stars team carries five players from my TOC team. I wanted to beat him bad. The competition of it all."
And that they did, as this West Seattle team is really rolling now. And, those knowing this kind of All Stars tournament play say, it doesn't happen all too often, but, if a team does get in the loser's bracket early and catches fire, it can be hard to stop.
"We finally got going," said West Seattle third base coach Mike Triol. "The goal is to see the team play together as a team. There's a grace period where you learn to play as a team. We weren't doing it at first, not in practices, not in our first game, but we are doing it now."
Manager Brent echoed Triol's words.
"We are doing what we thought this team could do. "We did have some errors in this game, but no one error turned into two or three. You can get in a good rhythm, or a bad. All the kids need to stop a bad rhythm in a game together. And, they are buying into it."
Westside! Westside! Westside!